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Internet Marketing Blog

October 2010

How to Craft an Effective Title for Your Blog Post

Thinking about how to craft the most effective title for your blog post?  Last week, we discussed how to Make Your Blog Posts “Must Reads”, and a strong title is important to reel readers into your posts. 
When your title is strong, your reader may want to share the post link with friends spreading your readership.  Also, the words you choose in your post title will display in search result pages and on social media sites where your post was shared.  The title is built into your post’s individual URL (called the permalink URL), too, in your browser bar. 
Whether for the initial open rate, search results, social media sites, index value, or the permalink URL, here are five ideas to consider to create strong titles for increased success with your blog posts:
1. Include keywords relevant to your post

When ranking your website, search engines look for similarities in the subject matter of your blog post, title, and other site content.  Consider using the keywords you’re optimizing your article for as increased usage in the title will help to accelerate the ranking process for search engines.  This also helps your readers know the basic points your post will discuss.

2. Convey the post’s purpose or benefit

Get your message across clearly in your title, especially if there’s a benefit to the reader.  
If you’re conveying a sale, let your customers know: All Hair Products Must Go by Sunday. 
If you’re showing how to do something, say it up front: How to Decide When to Sell Your Home or 10 Steps for Your Dog’s Best Bath. If you’re making an announcement, make it specific: We’ve met our $5,000 Funding Goal
3. Ask a question

Ask a question to develop relationships with your readers by breeding conversation.  Consider which of your readers you want to target with your question.  Questions may also give you an opportunity to gather information from customers that could be helpful to your next sale or event. 

4. Use power words to attract interest

Examples include Free, Now, Vote, Quick, Secrets.  Strong words within your title help draw attention to your post.  While the post is important for your visitors to continue reading after they move beyond the title, power words can spark healthy click through rates.  

5. Bring controversial ideas to the table 
Strong ides often prompt readership and debate.  Consider if you have a strong viewpoint, and how to phrase that within a few words for your title. 
Enjoy these strategies to engage interest in your post content by writing strong titles.  Even better, as you continue to launch new posts, clear and intriguing titles make your archived, older posts easier and more fun for readers to view. 
What have your favorite post titles been?

Your Websites Support Team is Building Great Sites, Too!

Last week, we ran a “Best Website” competition for your websites support team, where agents submitted sites that they cooked up themselves using the Vistaprint Site Builder.   Pushing the team who serves you every day on the phones to design their best websites keeps their skills sharp for all your questions.
Damion took the design prize with  Check out how he customized his site’s header and footer, used the forms extra to gather requests and comments from prospective customers, and showcased his products with image galleries. 
The support team works hard to provide you with the best customer experience, and their own websites show what they can do to help you.  Congrats Damion!

Website Traffic: Why You Need to Measure It

Understanding and tracking your website activity is a ‘must’ to becoming a successful internet marketer.   You should be consistently using your customer metrics to understand who your customers are, what motivates them to come and visit your site. You can use these learnings to make improvements to your site to drive new visits, return visits, and ultimately sales.  
But where do you start?  Let’s take a look at some ways in which you can quickly and easily analyze your site traffic.
To maximize your stats, explore:
•  Which pages have the most impact

Check out how your different website pages vary in popularity (by Visitors and Page Views – Note: One visitor to your site can produce many page views), and how long customers are spending on each page (Visit Length).  Make sure to keep your most popular pages active and fresh, by making frequent updates for return visitors and enhancements for new visitors.  Can you define what elements make your top pages so popular and try applying them to your less trafficked pages?  This is a good way to ensure that all of the pages on your site are getting traffic, not just a few. 
•  Where your visitors are located

See what areas or cities your visitors are from to understand who you’re targeting (Location).  If most of your customers are local, consider optimizing your search engine performance for local listings with an Online Search Profile (include link to search tool/page).  Perhaps you’d like to print advertise to your customers, or see if a recent print advertising campaign has driven traffic to your site.  By knowing the locations of your visitors, you can better tailor your local marketing campaigns.
•  What days of the week and times of the day your visitors visit 
This is very important, because once you know this, you can ensure that you’re updating content or enhancements on the site to coincide with “busy times” just like you would merchandise a story when the rush is coming in. 
Orient your promotions, major site changes, and specials on the days that your visitors tend to visit your site.  Look for patterns to see if most visits are on weekends or particular days.  Further, with Advanced Site Activity, hourly reporting shows what times of day your customers are most receptive.  Schedule an email marketing campaign to get their attention and drive extra traffic to your site for these times.  Then make sure you measure the impact to see if the timing actually had an impact on traffic.  
•  What causes spikes
When you create additions to your site, closely monitor how they’re received through your Site Activity.  For example, if you’ve made page-specific changes, do visitors stay on the page longer (Visit Length)?  If you’ve added a controversial blog post, by how much did your blog traffic increase that day or week (Blog Stats)?  Has the new extra feature (like an image, video, or map) you added been used by customers (Feature Usage)?
Enjoy getting to know your visitors and how they react to your site, and to tune your website marketing accordingly.   As you make changes to your site check in to see how they perform and as your readership changes see how your stats do too! 
If you currently have the Starter website package, try upgrading to the Standard or Professional packages to get basic Site Activity included in your subscription.  To see what each of your site statistics mean, check out the Learning Center article on how to Succeed With Site Statistics.
How often are you looking at you stats? Are you seeing any interesting trends?

Your Perfect Domain Name

Have you been sitting at your computer for hours trying to decide on the perfect domain name for your website?  Have you came up with a domain name but didn’t think it was good enough?  Oftentimes you’ll think you have the perfect name only to find out that someone else owns it and you have to start from scratch. 
A question I come across from customers is “How do I choose the perfect domain name?”  As you create your website choosing your domain name is as important as designing your pages.  Your domain name can both drive traffic to your site (link to article) and increase visibility for your micro business.  Deciding on the right domain name takes time and research, but here are a few hints to get you started on the road to your perfect domain name.   
First, check to see if your company name is available.  If you’re the owner of Jim’s Yardwork and happens to be available, grab it.  This will be the perfect link to your company and really help your SEO ranking in search engines.
If your exact business name is not available, ask yourself, “What keywords do my customers use to describe my business?”   If you’re Jim and your customers use words like lawncare, garden, or design when they talk about your company, create a domain with these in mind.  Customers will most likely be using keywords when trying to find your business online. Something like would be a great grab because it has keywords your customers are searching for and makes it easier for them to find you in local search engines.
Lastly, how can you make your domain name memorable?  Many people settle for hyphenating or misspelling their domain name.  Although this may technically work, customers will have difficulty recalling it and your marketing efforts will be less effective since the site is difficult to remember.  Instead, try to present your keywords in a unique way that will resonate with your customers.  They will have an easier time recalling your domain name and most importantly will be able to pass it along to their friends! 
It can be hard work finding the right domain name.  Don’t get discouraged, your perfect domain name is out there  If you have some patience and use some creativity. What are some domain names that you’ve created or some hints you’ve used? 
I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments. 

Make Your Blog Posts "Must Reads"

Your blog posts’ effectiveness increases your blog and website’s performance, boosting return visits.  Results can be seen through post visits, commenting on that post and shares of your post on social media sites. 
Be Yourself and Take Time to Write
Blog posts can be most desirable for readers when you give them a unique point of view and tell them something they didn’t know.  Spend some time to consider what you want to write- whether it’s announcing an event or sale, sharing updates, or discussing topics of interest to you or your business.
Introduce your topic with a short opening paragraph, provide the meat of your discussion in the middle and then summarize your points in a closing statement.  Consider the key elements of what you’re trying to portray, but don't overburden the reader with too much content.  Typically when writing, less is more. But most importantly, lend your own expertise to the topic and your unique point of view, that’s why people are going to read it.
Take a read through to make sure your message is clear and clean (feel free to use our spell checking tool!).  Keep in mind you can always create a draft and then save it for review later in your Blog Dashboard before publishing.
Solicit Comments and Feedback
Comments and interaction on your blog will keep people coming back and ultimately boost traffic.  So make your posts thought provoking and ask for questions, comments or feedback at the end of each one.  And when people take the time to comment or ask a question, respond thoughtfully.  Once you get the ball rolling, ideas for posts and interactions with customers will make your blog a must-visit property.
Make it memorable with extras
Spice up your posts with extras like images, videos, audio, maps, and more.  Integrating visuals within your text can help excite the message for your readers, and there are lots of options included in the Blog Builder. 
Hope this helps you on your way to great blogs.  Let us know what works best for you when crafting your posts!
Stay tuned for upcoming tips on writing impactful post titles to reel your readers in, advice on frequency and scheduling of posts, and how to use your readers’ comments to best continue the discussion.

Building Inbound Links Guide For Small Businesses

Recently, I wrote an article on the best practices for Search Engine Optimization in Search Engine Optimization Guide for Small Businesses. The article talked about 4 important aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I’ve already covered the first 3 components: Spider Friendly Sites, Search Terms, and Content. Today, I’ll discuss the last SEO component: Building Inbound Links. 
What is Link Building?
Link building is a very important part of Search Engine Optimization, and is a great way for Small Businesses to get ahead in search engines like Google. Link building is the process of getting other websites on the internet to add links to your website (also known as Inbound Links). Search Engines like Google use the quantity and quality of inbound links to determine how important your website is. These inbound links can be considered “votes,” indicating that your website is credible and highly regarded. As you receive more “votes,” search engines will identify your website as a significant resource in the online community and feature it more prominently in their search results.
How Can I Build Inbound Links?
One of the best ways to start building inbound links is the old-fashioned way: using the people and places you know. When building links, it’s best to start with what I like to call the low hanging fruit. Consider anyone in your social and professional circles that has a website, then send them a friendly note and ask if they’d mind adding a link to your website onto their site (maybe offer to host their website link in exchange!). When considering who to ask, consider your customers, clients, key suppliers, partners, colleagues, relatives and friends that run businesses, professional groups, community projects, and other local businesses.

Another great way for local businesses to build links is to contact your Chamber of Commerce and ask them to add a link to your website on their site. Although this is just one link, many other websites will often link to small businesses listed on the Chamber of Commerce, so this can be a great way to get more links. You can also use social media to build more links to your site. Share links to your site on Facebook and Twitter, and add a Facebook and Twitter widgets to your site so customers can promote your business for you. 
To Summarize…
Building links is a great way to boost your organic ranking in search engines. The people you already know can be one of your best assets when trying to build links to your site- so use them! Don’t be shy to ask, and be sure to offer to post one of their links on your site in exchange.
Look forward to hearing from you, feel free to share your experinece with buidling and sharing links.

Small Business Guide on How to Write Search Engine Optimized Content

Recently, I wrote an article on the best practices for Search Engine Optimization in Search Engine Optimization Guide for Small Businesses. The article talked about 4 important aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I’ve already covered the first two components in the Small Business Guide to Making a Spider Friendly Site for SEO and Small Business Guide on How to Use Search Terms to Improve SEO. Today, I’ll discuss the second SEO component: Content. In this article, I’ll cover what website content is, why it’s important, and how you can write good content.  
What is Content?
The content of your site is what your customers will see when they come visit. It’s the text and images that make up the body of your site. Creating compelling and useful content is one of the most important ways you can influence your site. You can create good content by adding compelling text to your site, or creating a blog and posting useful information frequently!
How do I Write Good Content?
When writing text for your site, remember to write easy-to-read text, use language relevant to your users, and keep your content fresh and unique. The most important reason for your site to have good content is so your visitors will stay on your site and decide to give you business, however search engines can also tell when a site has good content and will rank the site higher. Some things to keep in mind while writing content:
   1.Create unique content, and avoid copying and pasting text from other sites
    2.Update your site regularly to keep your visitors and search engines coming back
    3.Incorporate your search terms through your text
   4.Organize what you’re writing about and focus on one topic at a time
   5.Write easy-to-read text, and avoid spelling mistakes
   6.Make sure most of your website pages have a good amount of text (shoot for 500 words  on at least one page of your site)
To wrap things up
 Search engines will look for websites that have text that is slightly unique from other websites and provides information related to the search terms a potential customer is looking for. Writing good content on your site is a great way to improve your search ranking. For more help with writing content, check out the Vistaprint Writing Wizard which is part of the Search Engine Optimizer. This tool lets users add professionally written text to their site that’s been tailored to their business.

Small Business Guide on How to Use Search Terms to Improve SEO

Recently, I wrote an article on the best practices for Search Engine Optimization in Search Engine
Optimization Guide for Small Businesses. The article talked about 4 components that are essential to making your website Search Engine Optimized (SEO). I covered the first component - making a spider friendly site – in my article Small Business Guide to Making a Spider Friendly Site for SEO. Today, I’ll discuss the second SEO component: Search Terms. In this article, I’ll cover what Search Terms are, why they’re important, and how to choose them.
What are Search Terms?
Search Terms are the words or phrases that a user might search for to find a website selling the products or services they are interested in.   When optimizing your site, you should choose a few search terms (start with 2-4) to focus your website content around.
Why and How should I use Search Terms on my website?
By incorporating relevant Search Terms throughout your website, search engines know to display your site towards the top of the results page for those Search Terms.  You should try to incorporate each of your search terms a few times on each page. Also, don’t just include them in the plain text of your site; add them to the headers, page names, image descriptions, and page descriptions to get additional value. Make sure that you don’t overdo it though; search engines can tell when people are trying to cheat the system by writing one search term 50 times just to improve your ranking.
How do I choose my Search Terms?
When choosing your search terms, try to pick just a few to focus on (three is a good starting place). Think of all the possible terms your potential customers would search for, and make a list. If you’re a hair salon in Baltimore that specializes in hair extensions, try “hair extensions Baltimore”. If you’re a landscaper that focuses on gardens in Ft Lauderdale, try “garden design Ft Lauderdale”.  Some things to consider when choosing your search terms:
1. Don’t use Search Terms that are too broad, like “cakes”, as they will be too competitive and you won’t show up
2. Don’t use Search Terms that are too specific, like “cake decorator specializing in funky kid designs”, because it is less likely that anyone is searching for that phrase.
3. If you’re a local business, include your location in context with your keywords.  Using “cakes” as the example, something like “Cake decorator Lexington” would be a great search term to use. The locations doesn’t have to be used right next to your search term in your website text (“cake decorator Lexington”), but it should be close (“Our company provides excellent Cake Decorating services in Lexington”).
4. If your business carries specific brands that your customers may be looking for, include those brand names in your Search Term list.
5. Use a free tool like Google’s Insights for Search to get more ideas on Search Terms to use.
To conclude
Including strong, relevant search terms throughout your site is a very important part of Search Engine Optimization. Make sure to consider carefully which terms you’d like to use on your site and to incorporate them frequently. Before your know it, you’ll be driving more quality traffic to your site!

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