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>Web design is very important if you want to achieve traffic and draw people to your brand. But how do you do it? What’s important and what’s not? Today I want to discuss one small aspect of web design – graphics. Are they important?

Graphics are important for one reason and one reason only. They keep your text from being boring.

How many times have you visited a website and seen nothing but text. Did you stick around for long? My guess is, probably not. And the reason is because there was nothing there to draw your attention and hold it.

Text is good. Textual content is a necessity. If all you have are graphics on your website then people will stop and look but then what? Content sells. In other words, the graphics on your website keep people glued, or anchored, to your web page. The content persuades them to take action.

So you can see that content – textual content – and graphics work together to deliver a total user experience. But by graphics I don’t necessarily mean just photos and images. It could also be videos or multimedia presentations. It can be anything that breaks up the text on the page.

So, in short, break up your content with great graphics and watch your visitors stick around longer.

Before you begin a pay per click campaign it is always a good idea to get a PPC evaluation, which is a way for your PPC manager to see what you’ve done, how it’s affected your ROI, what worked, what didn’t, etc. There are 5 key elements to a good PPC evaluation.

  1. Website Evaluation – There are certain aspects to your website that are important for consideration when you use PPC to drive traffic to it. First is usability. Do your visitors find your website usable or is it difficult to navigate? How about conversion optimization? Are your landing pages ready to receive orders? And we’ll also take a look at your page load times to ensure that your PPC ads have a high quality score.
  2. Existing PPC Accounts – Do you have existing accounts? How effectively were they managed? What potential issues are there in those accounts, what are your missed opportunities, are you targeting the right keywords, etc.?
  3. New PPC Accounts – You’ll need to outline your PPC strategy, estimate your average cost per click on each keyword, set your monthly budget, and define your marketing channels.
  4. Google Analytics Account – Do you have one? We’ll set one up for you. You also need to set goals and establish lead funnels.
  5. Custom Pricing – Finally, you’ll need to get your pricing set for your campaigns. Not a one-size-fits-all budget, but the cost for your campaign.

If you’ve been struggling with PPC and you’re ready to take on a campaign that will be successful, get a PPC evaluation.

SEO is not just writing content and hoping it gets ranked in the search engines. There is a specific strategy that you should follow to get your pages where you want them so that you can have traffic delivered to your website. Here are 5 aspects of SEO that you cannot ignore and hope that your efforts are working.

  1. Every SEO campaign should begin with keyword research. If you don’t know what your most important keywords are then you’ll never be successful at SEO.
  2. Local business listings provide a natural opportunity for most businesses, particularly small businesses that operate within a specific geographic community. Don’t ignore local search. Some of your best opportunities will be right under your nose.
  3. Link building is a time consuming task, but if you want your web pages to rank highly then it’s a necessary task.
  4. Before you build links and after you’ve done your keyword research you’ll need to create content. This is the most important aspect of SEO. Do it wrong and you won’t rank for the right keywords. Do it right and you can rank even without links.
  5. Call it monitoring and reporting, analytics, or metrics. Whatever name you give it, it is significant. You’ll never know if your SEO campaigns are succeeding unless you continue to monitor your progress and track your results.

Start and end your SEO efforts on the right foot. Begin with keyword research and end with tracking and monitoring. But don’t leave out the cream in the middle either.

Online reputation management has become an essential part of doing business on the Internet. But how do you go about it? What are the important tools that you use to manage your reputation online? Here is a list of 10 reputation management tools that we recommend.

  1. Your blog – If you don’t have a blog then I recommend one. The search marketing potential of a single blog outweighs almost everything you’re probably used to.
  2. Your website – Your company website is the best reputation management tool you have. Unfortunately, most people never tap into its full potential.
  3. Google Alerts – Use Google Alerts – they’re free – to notify you whenever your name or brand are mentioned.
  4. Twitter – Twitter is the most important real time tool on the Internet. It’s also a great communication and marketing tool.
  5. Facebook – The most visited site online. It’s where your friends are. It’s also where you enemies are. Work it well and it can pay off big.
  6. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a business networking tool that is becoming more and more important every day.
  7. Keyword Research Tool – Study your keywords, find new keywords, and learn what people are searching for. Give it to them.
  8. Quora – Quora is a question and answer site that allows you to prove yourself a knowledgeable expert in your field.
  9. Social Bookmarking – There are hundreds of social bookmarking sites online. You can pick 10 of them and make a solid reputation for yourself by making new friends and sharing with them information about your niche that you find valuable.
  10. Your Service – Seriously, it doesn’t matter how good you do other things, if you don’t provide a good service then people will tell their friends about it. Provide a knock out service and let them tell their friends about that.

One of the most misunderstood Internet marketing strategies is viral marketing. The fact is, it’s not really an Internet marketing strategy. It’s been around a lot longer than the Internet. But the Internet does take it to the next level and make it more powerful.

Simply defined, viral marketing is any kind of marketing that gets other people talking about your brand and sharing with their friends on a large scale. That can be done online or off line.

Off line viral marketing usually begins with a customer experiencing a product or service. Then that customer goes out and tells a handful of other people – let’s say 10 – about the kind of service or quality experienced at your business. Some of those 10 people – let’s say half – go and check it out for themselves. Each of them likes it in turn. They go out and tell 10-12 of their friends each and a handful of them go into your store to experience the product or service. Repeat that 100 or 1,000 times and we have off line viral marketing.

The same phenomenon works online as well. The difference is that people are now more likely to talk about you to their online friends – in chat rooms, forums, on blogs, and through interaction on social networks.

Viral marketing is nothing new, but it sure is powerful.

Social media marketing has come of age and today it is nearly impossible to market yourself online without doing some social media marketing. The following 5 social media strategies are specific strategies that you would be foolhardy to ignore.

  • Facebook – We might as well start with the largest social media site on the Web. Facebook is a tough animal because spamming is strongly discouraged and Facebook has internal controls to get rid of spammers. However, it can be very effective if done the right way and it is the most trafficked website online so you can’t ignore it.
  • Twitter – Twitter is a great adjunct to Facebook. Some people think it’s an either/or equation. It’s not; it’s both/and. Your audiences on Facebook and Twitter will be different audiences. Chase them both; be effective and you will love the results.
  • Video Marketing – I’m broadening this one to include online video marketing in various forms even though you know we’re talking about YouTube. But don’t limit yourself to YouTube. With Twitter and Facebook you can design special strategies that fit those websites on their own, but with video marketing you can design a strategy that works for YouTube and other online video sharing sites too.
  • LinkedIn – There is hardly a business that can’t benefit from LinkedIn. It’s a special social media site designed for business interactions. Ignore it at your own peril.
  • Blogging – No discussion of social media is complete with a discussion on blogging. If you don’t have your own blog then you need to get one. You especially need one if you plan to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn. Blogging is the beginning of social media marketing.

Internet marketing is about one thing – primarily. How you employ your fleet of keywords. But what makes a good keyword?

If you don’t know, a keyword is any word (or phrase) that a searcher would use to look for information that would be found on your website. Ideally, you want them to find your site and not your competition’s website. So how do you make that happen?

In a word, it happens when you effectively manage your keywords so that you use keywords that have high conversion rates and that you acquire at lower costs.

So the question is, How do you find these keywords?

There are several methods for finding keywords. Some of them are good and others are not so good. Your real goal is to find your best keywords at the best prices. So what are your options?

  • Your first option is to go at it blind. This isn’t a very good option because if you can’t see your target then you aren’t likely to hit it.
  • You can use a keyword research tool to help you narrow down your list of keywords. This is a great way to find an initial list of keywords, but it’s limited in giving you information on the effectiveness of those keywords.
  • You can evaluate the websites of your competition and come away with some reasonable keywords, but those are keywords that your competition uses. They may or may not be good keywords for your business.
  • Or, you can wage a small scale pay per click campaign to test your keywords and see which ones convert better at lower click prices.

Our preference for finding the right keywords for your business is the last option. It will narrow down your list of keywords to the best keywords, tell you which ones convert the best, and provide you with information on expected click-through rates and click prices.

Effective keyword management begins with a good list and from there you narrow it down to the best keywords.