Best Internet Marketing Tips
Here is part two of my best Internet marketing tips!
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 do not use them for rankings because they were aborted by spammers for so long. Meta tags will not 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, do not 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 had not 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 not 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 "home" 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 critical. 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 these 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 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 altogether 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 that 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 do not want to invest much money because we do not 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 refer 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 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 does not mean you should go out of your way to make your site look cheap or cheesy. You probably do not want to use animated .gif images. In most cases these cheapen the look of the site. Do not 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 terrifying 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, do not 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 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 $ 3.95 per month for hosting your first site! If you have multiple sites you wish to host, GoDaddy has a deluxe plan that allows you to host an unlimited number of sites for just $ 6.95 per month!
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 do not 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 shred 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 do not have a dedicated person by the phone all the time.
Good luck to you and be watching for Part III!