Internet marketing is not rocket science. There is MUCH to learn before any success can be enjoyed! Most beginners simply quit before they see success.Now i am still learning on how to manage and write a good blog. However, for those willing to learn and take action, the rewards can be awesome!
1. Do not invest much money in your first site. This is the great thing about the Internet! There is almost no risk and the rewards are almost unlimited. If you can’t make money on a low cost start-up, you won’t make any money no matter how much you spend on the site, advertising etc. You MUST learn search engine marketing and site design! I started Unlimited Secret with a $6.95 per month hosting account from GoDaddy and two case of product I bought for $200! There is not another business opportunity ANYWHERE with such low risk and high reward possibilities than an online business.
2. Google’s ranking criteria consists of about 50 different variables. Relevant content and the number of incoming, one-way links from relevant sites are at the top of the list. It is virtually impossible for the new site to get many one-way links. Therefore, CONTENT is the key! Plenty of keyword rich content which is ORIGINAL and properly optimized will get your site ranked.
3. If you have someone else design and build your site, your first question to them is do they have a good working knowledge of SEO (search engine optimization) and Internet marketing in general. If they don’t have a clue, find someone else. Better yet, learn slowly and take your time to design your site yourself. In my opinion, your chances of success are slim to none if you don’t learn how to create and modify your site yourself. It is not rocket science. Take the time to learn it if you are serious about making money on the Internet.
4. The more pages of content the better. Set yourself some goals for content. I recommend to produce and publish one article per day. Each article consists of 300 to 700 words and is optimized with a good keyword phrase. In a year the site will have 365 pages of great content! This content should attract a lot of traffic! Even if your goal was only 2 pages per week, you would still have over 100 pages in a year!
5. Write your content page AFTER you have determined the exact keyword phrase you are going to use and then optimize with it. Never write content simply for the sake of writing content. Always use a keyword tools to help you write content which people are actually searching for.
6. Remember that keyword phrases 3 and 4 words long are MUCH easier to rank for. Although there are many more searches for “dogs” than “dog training tips”, it will be far easier to get traffic to the page optimized with the longer phrase. PLUS the people who search for and find your “dog training tips” page will be interested in EXACTLY what your page is about.
7. Think NICHE! The Internet is HUGE, and so is the competition! But no matter what the area is, there are enough niche areas within it to generate a LOT of traffic and profits.
8. Keep your site’s theme narrow. Google LOVES themes! In other words, for a dog site, focusing on a narrow theme will make it more attractive to Google. All things being equal, a hundred page site about dogs in general will have less respect from Google than a 100 page site about dog training. Keep your site focused!
9. NEVER pay money to a company to “Get your site submitted to hundreds of search engines”. This is a COMPLETE waste of money. Read more blog and free marketing book on web. There are far better ways to spend your money than this.
10. NEVER sign up with a company which promises 100’s of incoming links! This is just too good to be true and is. AND it could get your site banned if Google thinks you are personally participating in link spamming! There are no free lunches in Internet Marketing. Before you ever pay money for any type of listing or linking service, PLEASE write to me and let us talk about it first! Don’t end up shooting yourself in the foot!
11. Be careful about spending money for even “legitimate” links. There are many great sites with high page rank which will place a one-way link to your page from theirs for twenty-five to fifty dollars. As you may know, having a link to your site from a site with a page rank of five or six and with the same theme is a VERY good deal for your site. Google will give your site bonus points for a link like that. However, Matt Cutts with Google has stated recently that Google minimizes the importance of the link if they think it is paid link. And as I said earlier, the Google spiders are VERY smart. Although I have purchased links in the past, I probably won’t anymore.
12. After you have a dozen or so pages of original content published to the web, go ahead and start submitting them manually to the relevant directories.
13. You can submit your site directly to Google and Yahoo if you wish, but the search engines will give your page more relevance if they find its link in some other way; like at the directories which you submitted to. I never bother submitting directly to Google or Yahoo anymore. My new sites won’t get indexed any faster than if I simply submit them to the directories. Besides, when Google sees links to it from another site, they will give my new site more relevance.
14. Do not spend your time or money on pay-per-click advertising like Google AdWords until you have traffic and sales coming from regular, “organic” searches. The learning curve is high for pay-per-click success. Your time and money should be spent learning basic search engine marketing. Remember, search engine optimization will be your most effective marketing strategy.
15. I believe in Karma. I also try to always follow the golden rule. I never click on my competitors’ AdWords links just to do research on them. Every click costs them money. I always copy and paste the URL within the ad into a browser and visit it from there. I sure wouldn’t want people clicking on my ads if they knew they had no intentions of buying anything. It simply isn’t nice to do that to people.
16. Never succumb to the urge to just copy and paste content into your page from another site. Even if the other site gives you permission, it simply is not good practice. I know some sites rank well with copied content, but all things being equal the site with copied content will generally rank lower.
17. Be sure to create your site with a base template (which you create). Dreamweaver handles this process very well. For example: As you create more and more pages, what about the navigation for each page? Will you have to go into each and every single page and add links to the each and every new page you create? This is simply not practical. With a Dreamweaver template, you start every page with the same base template which has the navigation. When you add more links to the template’s navigation, it automatically updates every other page you created with that template. This is the only way to go for beginning web entrepreneurs. Later on you may learn PHP or ASP which handles this type of process, but for now a template is the way to go.
18. Speaking of templates. NEVER use the built-in templates of Microsoft’s FrontPage. These create extremely bloated code! Do not use them. FrontPage templates are NOT what I am talking about when I tell you to design your page with a base template!
19. Meta tags used to be very important. But now days Google and Yahoo don’t use them for rankings because they were abused by spammers for so long. Meta tags won’t help you, but they CAN HURT you if used wrong! NEVER put the same meta tag contents into each page. The meta tag descriptions and keywords MUST be unique to each page! If the page is only about dog training, don’t use a meta keyword for cat diseases.
20. Be sure to use your keyword phrase as the title of the page. It is best to only have the keyword phrase in the title and nothing else. One exception to this is if the page is selling a product. In this case it works very well to put the price right after the keyword. An example might be “Small Dog Collars - $4.99”. The title is what shows up in bold in the search engine results. If you are selling something, you want to attract people interested in making a purchase. Having the price show up in the title will let possible visitors know that they can buy small dog collars from your page. Buyers are more likely to click on those links with prices in the title.
21. Google considers hidden text “cheating”. You must not have text on the page of the same color as the page’s background. In fact, even if it is close, Google can ban your page! Never think you can outsmart Google! Never.
22. Even though most hosting companies provide some type of site statistics for page views, referrers, etc., Google Analytics provides the very best free solution. You will be amazed at the information Google Analytics will provide about the visitors to your site. Be sure to study this information for clues on how you can increase traffic. For example, you may see that a certain search term you hadn’t thought about is bringing people to your site. At that point you could optimize more pages for the keyword and get more of a share of those searches.
23. Forget FLASH or fancy scripts on your site. Cactus Canyon is made with only text, tables and images; and it has 3 or 4 dozen pages showing up on Google’s first pages for various search terms. Although I now create new pages with CSS because they are easier in the long run, (and search engines like their clean code too!) there is no reason your simple HTML site can’t do very well in the search engines! Remember, it is the CONTENT which Google is looking at – not how great your design skills are. Which would you rather have? A pretty, eye-catching site which makes its way to page 22 in a Google search, or a simple “homemade” looking site on page 1 of the search results? Get my point?
24. ALWAYS go somewhere else and look at your site on another computer! There are ways to get faked out if you create and view your site on the same computer! It is best if you can actually do this, but if you have to you can phone a friend to take a look at it for you. But you MUST view it on a different computer. Otherwise you can end up making some very embarrassing mistakes.
25. Your navigation structure is crucial. When a search engine visits a page on your site, your navigation structure should make it easy for the search engine spider to navigate and index all the other pages of your site. It is best to have the navigation links at the top or the left side of your pages.
26. If possible, your linking structure should be composed of text links and NOT images. The difference is that the anchor text of the link will give your linked page more relevance. In other words, a link to a page about dog collars with a text link, “dog collars”, will mean more for a search engine than if you have a picture of a dog collar linking to your dog collar page. AVOID any type of “fly out” navigation system. Some of those scripts are not search engine friendly. Stick to the basics; simple text links are the best. If you want to dress up the links a little, it is possible to use CSS to create rollover effects without sacrificing search engine optimization. There are plenty of help pages on the web which will show how you how to configure a CSS file for this purpose.
27. Google and other search engines like sites that change often. This does not mean to go in and totally revamp your home page every month. Simply go in and add a new paragraph (short ones) here and there and some more links to other pages you create. The search engines do not like sites they perceive as “stale”.
28. Before someone will buy something on your site, they must trust you. There are two ways to build trust with your site’s visitors. One is to have a very professional looking site. It will be very difficult for the new site owner to build a “very professional” looking site. One could pay three or four thousand dollars for site designed by a professional web designer, but we don’t want to invest much money because we don’t need to in order to be successful. The other method of building trust is to make the site more personal. If the potential customers can relate to you, if they feel they sort of know you, if you have some pictures of yourself on the site, or pictures of your dogs, or talk about your home town, or…and the list goes on. But my point is that your site can be relatively plain looking and still be VERY successful so long as people trust it. Just look at CactusCanyon.com for a perfect example of this.
29. That being said, it doesn’t mean you should go out of your way to make your site look cheap or cheesy. You probably don’t want to use animated .gif images. In most cases these cheapen the look of the site. Don’t try to use background images or colors for the background. White is always the safest color. Just take a look at all the major sites; they use white backgrounds. Do not try to reinvent the wheel!
30. There are plenty of sites on the web selling terrific looking templates which you can modify for your site. However, unless you know web design VERY well and can significantly modify the code before you get started, don’t use them. Not only does Google see duplicate content as bad, they also can see if the basic structure of the page uses duplicate code. You MUST change the code of these templates significantly! It often is simply not worth the work and is easier to start from scratch.
31. DO NOT spend hours and hours trying to perfect your site. Instead, spend most of those hours reading about and practicing Internet Marketing and writing more content pages.
32. NEVER spend more that $10 per month for hosting your first site! If you have several sites you wish to host, GoDaddy has a deluxe plan which allows you to host an unlimited number of sites for just $6.95 per month! Host Gator is also one of my suggested hosts.
33. Do NOT pay for a robust shopping cart system right off for your new site. Even if you hosting company offers a free shopping cart scripts, I still suggest going with PayPal’s free shopping cart until you are getting 3 or 4 orders per day. The reason for this is that the PayPal shopping cart is not only free, but it is extremely simple. The learning curve for other shopping carts is quite high. You need to spend your time marketing your site early on instead of learning a shopping cart system which is not going to get much use if you don’t spend time on marketing and driving traffic to your site!
34. You MUST take credit cards on your site. And I highly suggest you take PayPal too. Like it or hate it, a LOT of people use PayPal. Over 15% of our sales at Cactus Canyon come from customers using PayPal. In most cases you will have to have a merchant account from your bank in order to accept credit cards. There is usually a monthly fee of about twenty dollars for this plus the transaction fees. However, the free PayPal shopping cart allows you to take all major credit cards without having to invest in your own merchant account. Although there are still transaction fees with each purchase (with a similar percentage as a merchant account charges), PayPal does not have a monthly minimum or any type of monthly charge at all. You only pay the per transaction fee.
35. Phone orders are a problem for the small Internet business. You really need to be able to take phone orders. Some people refuse to use their credit card on the web. Of course almost all Internet businesses use an online merchant account validation system. When a customer calls in an order, the web business will simply input the information online into the same shopping cart the customer could have used. It would be much safer for the customer not to give their credit card information to a live person and expect them to shared the paper they wrote it on. That being said, here is how we handle phone calls: We pay $6.95 per month for an 800 number service provider and then 25 cents per minute for its use. We have the number sent to a recording where we ask the caller to leave a message so we can return their call. The message they leave is then forwarded to our email inbox where we can check it there and then return the call. This works pretty well since we don’t have a dedicated person by the phone all the time.
36. You should probably also take checks and money orders depending upon what you sell. We sell nutritional products. We always have taken personal checks and money orders. We have only had two bad money orders (and never a returned check!) in many hundreds of orders paid for with checks and money orders. Also, we have never held checks until they clear. We always ship right away. Maybe if we were selling higher priced items, we would reconsider this policy, but for now it works well for us.
37. USPS has the best rates for shipping smaller sized packages. UPS, DHL and FEDEX have better rates for larger packages. Do some research in order to determine what your best shipping choice is. Always use free electronic delivery confirmation labels with USPS. Always ship the same or next day if possible. Your customers will return time and again if they know they will receive their orders quickly! Send a delivery notification email for every order. I still send a personal mail to every one of our customers who place an order. People love this kind of personal service!
38. Keep a list of your customers’ email addresses. The list is like money in the bank! If your site ever falls out of favor with the search engines, at least you will have your customer list which you can market to. In this case you want to MAKE SURE that you treated those customers right in the first place! Customer service is your number one priority after the sale!
39. Do not pay more than $8.95 per year for your domain registrations. I have all of my domains registered with GoDaddy. They only charge $8.95 per year and have the best tech support of any Internet company I have ever dealt with. Also, since GoDaddy has great hosting packages too, (which I use for many of my sites) it is much easier to have your sites registered and hosted with the same company. Other companies offer higher cost domains with other “free” features such as hosting and “instant” websites added to the offer. The best deal is still to register and host with GoDaddy.
40. Many hosting companies offer special deals which offer such things as a five page site which is easy to create. These are template sites which they have scripts which make them easy to create. But you will be very limited with what you can do with your site. Learn web design yourself and do it all the right way. Again, there are no free lunches when it comes to Internet marketing.
41. Keep your file structure as simple as possible with your site. Unless you know for sure that your site may eventually contain many hundreds of files, I suggest just putting all the files on the root. The only exception to this is that you may wish to have an image folder for all your images.
42. DO NOT put your .html files into subdirectories! Keep all your individual web pages on the root. For young sites, Google is not likely to index any pages which are deeper than the root. If you think you site could contain many hundreds of pages some day, you may think about going ahead and start categorizing them in folders. This is not something you can do later. What structure you start with you must keep due to the way the search engines index pages.
43. A warning about DUPLICATE CONTENT: Your site will be penalized by the search engines if they see too much duplicate content within the site. For example, Cactus Canyon sells two types of liquid glucosamine products. They are both designed to do the same thing. I simply can’t copy and paste the benefits of using one into a page about the benefits of using the other. I have to REWRITE the benefits into original content for the other product. It must be UNIQUE. Also, say you want to move a page from this path, yoursite/dogs/dog-collars.html to yoursite/dog-collars.html. You can’t simply delete the first files location and put the file into the new location even though it is the same file. The search engines will think the new location is a new file. They will not immediately blank out from their memory the other files location. They will still consider this situation to be two files. And since they are both the same, the new location will be considered duplicate content and penalized. It is best to leave the other page where it is and rewrite a new page for the new location. Be careful about duplicate content. Always think about the consequences of doing things which the search engines may perceive as being duplicated content.
44. Use Digital Point to keep track of how your pages rank in the search engines. You may register for free and then track as many of your pages as you like for free. You simply type in the URL of a page and keyword you optimized it for. It will then tell you how the page ranks for that keyword in Google, Yahoo, and MSN. And best of all, the entire list of pages you create is saved for you. Simply login, click a button and all the page ranks for the keywords are checked. You can easily see how all of your pages rank for specific keywords at any time.
45. The VERY BEST place to read about, study, research, and ask questions about all aspects of Internet marketing is webmastersworld.com. Register for free and you will have access to the best forum of webmasters on the web!
46. Another site I check out on a regular basis is Matt Cutt’s blog. Matt is a top Google engineer and is well known for “almost” giving away some good secrets about Google search. I don’t know about any secrets, but his blog is dedicated to search and is very interesting!
47. My hard drive is FULL of files; all kinds of files. Once your Internet business has been going for a while you too will have more files accumulated than you ever dreamed. Sometimes finding a specific file is a big problem! I finally discovered Google Desktop. This search software is so cool! You download it free from Google and install it. It spends a few hours indexing your entire hard drive. After that you can go do a Google search on your desktop and actually find any file you look for. This search program is MUCH better than the built-in Windows search feature. I highly suggest it. It will save you a LOT of time.
48. Do something EVERY DAY for your business…no matter what. I have succeeded with this almost every day for the past several years. There is so much work to be done, that if you think about it in large terms it is too overwhelming. But if you decide to do at least something every day, it will all add up. Some days you may only be able to spend time browsing Webmasters World. Other days you may be able to spend 6 or 7 hours writing new content. But it is important to do SOMETHING every day!
49. Before deciding to sell a product online. Make sure you ask the manufacturer if you are allowed to sell online. Some manufacturers forbid it because they are afraid it will cut into their profits. Others welcome you to. And still others may allow it on the Internet but not on eBay. Don’t spend any time on an idea until you find out for sure you are allowed to promote it online.50. If you are planning on putting AdSense on your site, don’t put it on there right away. Wait until you are getting significant traffic. Google won’t care if you have it on there from the start, but there are some webmasters who believe that Yahoo may penalize a brand new site which has AdSense on it. The site won’t make any AdSense money anyway at the start, so there is no use in putting it on there until it is indexed well in all the major search engines. Simply have it designed so it will be easy to insert the code where you want it later on.