Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Importance of Your Website Navigation System

Welcome back biz tips readers! Today's free online home business tip is about making sure you have a good navigation system for your website. Trust me, it is important!!

So, without further delay....

While you should design your website to be aesthetically pleasing, beautiful graphics and clever little details are no substitute for a good navigation system. No matter how great your website looks, it will be useless if your visitors can't find their way around your site.

Traditionally the navigation menu is placed just below the header area or on the left hand side of the web page. Usability studies have shown that website visitors instinctively look in these areas first.

Wherever you decide to place your navigation menu, remember that consistency is important. The most important thing is to place your navigation menu in the same spot on every one of your web pages. If you use an image to represent a navigational button, use the same image and the same color for that image on each page of your website. For example, if you use an image of a green house in the left hand corner of your web page as your "Home" navigational link, use the same green house image in the left hand corner of every one of your web pages to designate the "Home" link.

Your visitor should be able to find what they are looking for within 3 clicks of your home page. This is usually not a problem for small sites. However, if you have a large site with many pages, you will need to design a navigation menu that provides access to all areas of your website without getting your visitor lost or confused.

You may want to use a bread crumb trail type of navigation system for large sites (Homepage > Category > Subcategory > Content). Another option is to use a dynamic menu that changes according to the page your visitor is, but be aware that search engines may not be able to spider sites using dynamic menus.

Usability studies have shown that a navigation menu should contain no more than 8 links. The more choices a user is given, the more difficult it will be for them to make a decision. Also, if you have many links, your visitor may get the impression that your site is complicated and difficult to navigate.

If you have only a few links, use mouse rollovers to visually enhance your website. You will need to add some Javascript that pre-loads the rollover images and then add "onMouseover" events to your image links. Alternatively, use CSS for text rollovers that change the link color when the mouse cursor hovers over a link.

Navigation links should be considered the most important part of your website for two reasons:

1) They are used by your visitor to find content on your site.

2) They are used by search engines to spider your site.

The reason users visit your site is to get information. If visitors can't find the information they are searching for, they will click away, perhaps never to return again.

While different search engines have different rules on how they spider and rank a site, basically a "bot" or "spider" will visit a site, search for a "HREF" link and follow the links to other pages, indexing the pages as it goes along. If the "bot" or "spider" doesn't find a "HREF" tag on a page, it is blocked from going any deeper into the site. As you can see, you need to design your navigational system so that a search engine can spider all pages of your website.

When designing your website, take the extra time to design a good navigational system. It is vital to your success!

Written By Trent Brownrigg of

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Top Five Reasons Your Traffic Generation Efforts Aren't Working

It might be that you're applying the wrong traffic method to your business. But make sure it's not one of the following reasons first.

1. Actually, it is working but you have unrealistic expectations.

Maybe you aren't going to get a million visitors a month. And that's okay, because it may not even take a million page views to get your traffic to yield a better income for you.

2. You've been inconsistent in executing it.

Meaning, some days you're gung ho, but most of the time you're not executing your plan. It ain't magic, hon. Someone has to do some work at some point. Either you do it or pay someone else to.

3. You don't have a plan.

You know what they say about a failure to plan. If you don't, trust me, it ain't good. Have a goal. If you don't know what to set it on, base it on an increase in revenue.

4. You're using the wrong plan.

Not every traffic generation method is good for every site or business. Some sites need to use RSS exclusively and extensively. Others are very well suited for blogs. Of course, if you're leveraging your traffic method to also help you get ranked well in the search engines, then that's a good way to measure it. One of my clients told me yesterday afternoon that 73% of his traffic was coming from the blog we built for him together. Delightful.

Who says blogging doesn't work?

5. You're flying blind.

Not everyone needs consulting. Not everyone needs to buy a book or ebook on the topic they want to study. Some folks have time to go out into forums or newsgroups, read everything they can find, and learn through trial and error. Other folks read blogs to get their learning on.

But whatever you're using as a method to learn more about the traffic method you've chosen, do it consistently, test and implement. If you want to hit the fast track instead, learn from people who have done, or are doing, what it is you've set out to learn. Why learn podcasting from a person who doesn't run a podcasting resource, or have a podcast at their site? Why learn about blogging from someone who has a blog no one likes?

On the other hand, you also don't want to become a traffic butterfly, floating to each new method you hear about before the first one has had the chance to prove itself.

There are other reasons why traffic plans fail in general. But those are the top five.

Author resource:

Go to Free Traffic Tip to learn more about all aspects of traffic generation, including blogging, article marketing and search engine optimization.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Spending Your Marketing Money Wisely

Are you trying to get more traffic to your website and wondering what options you have? Almost everyone on the internet these days would love to increase traffic to their websites regardless of their "niche".

Search engines are probably the best resource to deliver a steady flow of targeted traffic to your website. Listed below are a few suggestions for efficient use of your money when it comes to getting traffic to your website.

Here are 3 basic areas to consider:

1. Placing some keyword targeted pages on the internet that are Search Engine Optimized to draw traffic from the search engines.

2. Using Google or Yahoo "pay per click" (PPC) campaigns with your list of targeted keywords.

3. Placing carefully targeted and frequently updated content on your website.

If you are working on a limited budget it may be best to consider Options #1 and #3 as your first choices. The pay per click traffic generators can get to be very expensive in a short time, and these will continue to cost you money while each campaign is active.

If your focus is on pay per click, be sure to spend adequate time and effort to research and generate a list of relevant and effective keywords. There are many tools for helping with this task available on the internet and once your campaign is launched you can start to monitor and test your conversions. If you are promoting your own product you can always reinvest your earnings to continue your campaign and grow your income.

Another option for drawing traffic to your website is based on the use of custom written articles and other targeted content. You can use your budget to have some unique articles written on your favorite key topics, but this can be very expensive and time consuming. Articles such as these can be submitted to article directories and published on other content hungry websites.

The best alternative for content may be that of Private Label website resources such as Using PL content services, even on a limited budget, can easily provide thousands of articles that can be put to good work in drawing targeted traffic to your website. Imagine hundreds of new articles each month on a topic of your choice... articles that you can use just as if you had written them yourself! And of course PL content can be added directly to your own website or used in a variety of other ways for drawing traffic (blogs, newsletters, etc...).

This is just a glimpse of the power of content and other ways that can be used to draw traffic to your website. Be sure to explore your options and use your time and money wisely in the process.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Using Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to Make Money

You may already know that RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (there are a couple other accepted definitions but that tends to be the most used), but what does that really mean to you and more importantly, how can you use RSS to help you make more money?

Simply put, RSS feeds are written in XML, a special mark up language much like html. That means that they have mechanisms included that identify structures in a document. The structures define the content and how that content will be displayed within that document. RSS is what makes big news websites possible: RSS files are used to create a data feed which will deliver headlines, links or virtually any other piece of information to a channel viewer application, commonly called a news reader.

These readers are subscribed to certain RSS feeds and constantly monitor them, alerting the user when every any new information has been added to the feed.

So, how can you use this to your advantage as an internet marketer? Here are the most popular ways to integrate RSS feeds into your marketing effort:

1) You can use RSS to replace any email marketing you are currently doing

2) Take advantage of RSS feeds to drive traffic to your blog or website

3) Create your own RSS feed so your messages and information show up on thousands of websites, blogs and desktops online.

Although many marketing gurus will claim that email marketing isn't dead, with the advent of increasing spam complaints and filters coupled with the threat of viruses originating from an email, more and more people are leery of even opening your email. So even if you have a large email list, the likelihood of your emails being opened is becoming increasingly slim.

With RSS, your messages won't ever get filtered and have a much higher chance of actually being read vs. a typical email. And your marketing results can only be better when people actually read your message. You can even incorporate autoresponders in conjunction with RSS.

Including RSS feeds on your content site or blog allows you to add fully dynamic theme-related content to your web pages making your site or blog very popular with the search engines. The constantly updated content is exactly what the search engines crave and helps increase your search engine ranking, driving more traffic to your page.

Probably the best way to use RSS to help your online marketing efforts is to create your own RSS feed. This way your information will be published on any website that is using the RSS feed you are supplying that information to. There's even automated software to submit your RSS feeds to the various directories that supply the feeds to marketers using them as described above.

RSS is still a relatively unknown method of driving traffic to websites, but is becoming more popular every day. As an internet marketer, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of this new technology before the rest of the online marketers jump on the bandwagon. Doing so will put you ahead of the game in making money with RSS!

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Thursday, March 16, 2006

An Introduction to Clickbank

It is certainly possible that someone reading this post may never have heard of Clickbank but for those of us that make a living online, Clickbank can be one of the core resources used to generate cash flow.

There are several ways to produce income through Clickbank and they can all add up to a great income paid every two weeks.

The two main ways of creating income through Clickbank are "affiliate sales" and "direct product sales".

Affiliate Sales

There are thousands of downloadable digital products for sale at Clickbank in a variety of categories covering a wide range of topics. When products are added to Clickbank by the sellers they are given the opportunity to allow for affiliate sales. The product owner determines the percentage to be paid to the affiliate, if any.

Anyone can view all the products with affiliate sales potential at this link:

Once a category is clicked on in the Clickbank Marketplace, sub-categories and product listings appear. For example, today in the 'Business to Business' category the top selling product listed is: Data Entry Ads Online - Join The Best! [Earn 50%].

As an affiliate marketer, you would click on the [Earn 50%] link and fill in your Clickbank ID to capture the correct Clickbank Hoplink for the product. This Hoplink would be used in conjunction with all ads directing traffic to a particular product.

Each product Hoplink contains the ID of the affiliate and the ID of the seller thus making successful affiliate sales attributable to the correct parties.

Clickbank has an automated tracking system that determines which affiliate, if any, is to be associated with the sale. Although Clickbank feels their tracking system is "more fair and accurate than any alternative" it is still not perfect.

There are definitely ways for unscrupulous people to take advantage of the system for their benefit at the expense of those of us who do not delve into such matters. Link cloaking can be useful in these situations.

The benefits of affiliate marketing through Clickbank far outweigh any potential negative experiences that may arise due to a select few.

Direct Product Sales (Your Own Digital Products)

A popular way for internet marketers to get their products to the public is by using Clickbank payment processing. Clickbank makes it very easy for anyone to sell a downloadable product through their service and their fees are not likely to be out of the reach of anyone with computer access.

Although not shy about being one of the most expensive payment processors on the Internet, Clickbank makes up for their imperfections by general ease of use and reliable service.

It is simple to sign-up for a Clickbank ID; just go to and create an account. You can begin to promote affiliate products immediately after your membership is confirmed.

To sell your own products on Clickbank there is a seven step process:

(1) Signup with Clickbank

(2) Make a "Pitch Page"

(3) Make a "Thank You Page"

(4) Make a Test Purchase

(5) Submit Product Approval Request

(6) Pay $49.95 Product Review Fee

(7) Set Your Product Price and Start Making Sales!

It is not mandatory to offer affiliate sales of your products but there are a lot of good reasons to do so. Often sellers get to a point where affiliate sales produce a very significant income even to the point that they can stop advertising to drive traffic to their site and just let their affiliate army do it for them. What is lost in paying affiliate commissions is more than made up for by the fact that the affiliates will be creating many more sales then you could ever do on your own!

Overall, Clickbank is an excellent place to get a start in product sales on the Internet. Whether you are selling your own product or selling someone's product as an affiliate, the potential to create a great income is available to everyone.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Are you spamming the search engines?

Today's free online home business tip is titled:

"What you should not do. . . (spamming the search engines)"

It's about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques that you should avoid doing so you don't get tagged as a search engine spammer!

You can find the tips free at the link below:

SEO tricks to avoid

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Private Label Rights (PLR) Content - Quality Counts

Keen users of Private Label Rights content are delighted to see more and more PLR sites appearing. The proliferation of such sites has, however, given rise to a new problem - the overall quality of the articles users pay for. Good (and reliable) writers are snapped up fast and given ongoing work. Regrettably, some PLR site owners seem to be only concerned with getting a batch of articles uploaded no matter what the quality.

Competition, as we all know, is a GOOD thing. Quite a number of PLR users are now making a practice of signing up to check out the quality of what's on offer in a new site. If they like it, they stay. If they don't - they vote with their feet, or more appropriately, with the "cancel this subscription" option at PayPal.

=== Your Rights as a PLR Site Subscriber ===

Don't feel that you have to accept the articles you get no matter what the quality. You are entitled to get articles and/or ebooks that have been proofread and edited to correct grammar and spelling. It is the responsibility of the PLR site owner to check that the articles are of an acceptable standard (or to hire someone to do this for them).

PLR users expect to have to tweak and change an article to create unique website content. They should not, however, have to edit every article. We all expect an error to creep in here and there - but an entire batch of articles written by someone whose language is quite obviously NOT English is not acceptable. Nobody wants to have to copy-edit every one of 20 articles before turning them into an e-book!

=== What You Can Do If You Are Not Satisfied With the Quality of PLR Content ===

The first and most obvious option is to cancel your subscription. However, you would be doing everyone a favor if you took the time to contact the site owner to explain why you are not happy. Copy and paste a few examples from the articles to demonstrate the errors.

In the past, PLR site owners have sent back batches of articles to be corrected and/or rewritten when they are not satisfied with the job. In extreme cases, they cut their losses and just hire a new writer. Any PLR site owner who wants to build a profitable and well-regarded business will be interested in working with you on this - they don't want to lose customers!

If you can't get any satisfaction, move on. Sample the content of several sites. Ask for recommendations from friends or other publishers before you sign up. (Look for more than one satisfied customer - never forget that some reviews are there solely to get you to sign up via the reviewer's affiliate link.)

=== Find a Site to Satisfy Your Personal Needs ===

Different sites offer different things. Some sites offer articles and completed e-books, sales letters, and well-produced graphics. Others provide only articles and a few bonus products.

If you are a competent graphic designer and know your way around programs like Photoshop, graphics may not be important to you. (Indeed, you may prefer to create your own graphics so your site looks different to everyone else's.) Some sites offer 'extras' like web hosting and autoresponders, plus ready-made AdSense sites. If you are just starting out, you may like these all-in-one solutions.

Check out the following:

- What you get for your monthly subscription - articles, e-books, e-courses, AdSense sites, graphics and sales letters.

- The quality of the articles that are immediately available - general style, grammar, and spelling.

- Is the content original (not copied from some other source)?

- The regularity with which content is posted. (Check out the forum, if there's one available. Are there constant complaints or queries about when this month's content will be available?)

- The range of topics covered. You will find that some sites specialize in one subject area, while others cover a broad range of topics. Are you using enough of the monthly content to make it worth your while? There's not much point in being able to access 200 articles a month if you can use only five of them.

It's common for PLR users to belong to more than one site. An example: $200 a month spread between four to six sites comes to only $2,400 a year - which is an excellent business investment compared to the cost of hiring your own writer. Well-written, carefully-edited PLR articles are usually well worth the monthly fee. Take the time to assess the content of any PLR site - and stay with the ones that believe in quality control.

My two most recommended PLR membership sites are:

Niche Products Monthly

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Free Advertising Techniques For Your Online Business

Free advertising can be the holy grail for your online home business and for good reason... it doesn't cost anything and it can produce amazing results! Some of the best advertising available online is free, so why wouldn't you want to take advantage of it? While free advertising does not cost you money it will cost you time, so be careful when choosing a way to advertise for free.

Belwo are a few proven ways to get free advertising for your online business:

Article Submissions

Article writing (and submitting) is probably the best way to get free traffic. Sitting down and writing an article each week can be time consuming, but it is also one of the best ways to get free traffic. Any market, any product, or any service can use article submissions for online business promotion.

Email Signatures

This is something a lot of people used to do, but not many people do it anymore. Maybe because email is becoming a less important part of online business, but it is still a useful home business tip. At the end of each email you send out, include a small signature with your web address at the bottom. Free advertising for doing nothing more than you normally would have done anyway.

Free Ebooks

Creating an ebook and giving it away for free is a great way to get free traffic to your website. Your ebook doesn't have to be long, in fact it would be best to keep it short, just make sure you give away some good solid information. Inside the ebook tell people that they can also give the ebook away to friends, their lists, on their websites, or to anyone else who may want it. This is viral marketing at it's best.

Joint Ventures

If you have a product or service for sale this is one of the best free traffic methods for you. Finding joint venture partners who are willing to advertise your product to their customers for a percentage of each of the sale. Sure you may be giving away a percentage of your sales, but you spend no money to get many more customers than you could have gotten on your own.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the mother of all free advertising methods, but it also takes the most time to get results. If you're not experienced at search engine optimization then trying to get good rankings for a competitive keyword is almost like pulling your own teeth . This doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to get your website listed highly in major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN because, if you can do it, then it will be the best free traffic technique you will ever find!


You probably won't get a lot of free traffic from this method, but it's a great way to get one way links to your website. Sending testimonials to product owners and letting them put it on their website, with a link to your website, is an easy way to get some free traffic.

Dedicated to your success,
Trent Brownrigg

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Five Great Ways to Market Your Online Business

Marketing your online business can be a huge part of your budget especially when you're first starting out. Finding ways to get your name in front of your customers that doesn't cost a fortune will help you bring in sales while you're still working on getting ranked highly in the search engines.

Below are the five great ways to market your business on the internet. The ideas listed are not only inexpensive but are highly effective as well. However, before you even consider using one of these strategies, there are two things you must first do.

The first is to write a formal marketing plan. If you're getting close to opening your business, a marketing plan should already be done as part of your company's business plan. However, it's true that many who start online businesses fail to write a business plan. If this is the case, just be sure to at least get your marketing plan formalized before you start doing business. Getting your marketing plan thought through and documented is the minimum you should do for your business. When writing your marketing plan, consider the who, what, when, and how you will do your selling and get your brand in front of your customer. Then decide which of the following strategies you will implement in that plan and explain how you plan to carry out those strategies.

The other thing you need to consider is search engine optimization. It is essential to learn how to optimize your website so it will eventually get ranked in the top three search engines: Google, Yahoo, and MSN. The sooner you get started with optimizing your site, the faster it will get ranked. Until some of your pages are ranked in the search engines, your traffic will remain minimal. Consider investing in a book, ebook, ecourse, or program of some sort to learn how to optimize your site so you can use the information as you are building it and adding your content. Be sure you're learning the most recent information because the rules change frequently.

Now on to five great Ways to Market Your Online Business.

1. Find Your Niche. Imagine trying to sell your product or service to the entire world. Consider the marketing budgets of companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds, these are companies that are trying to appeal to everyone. Selling your product or service to a small but focused group of people will allow you the luxury of advertising to a smaller but more interested group of people. Since they are more interested, a higher percentage of the group will buy but you will have spent less money pursuing the smaller group. Once you are successful selling to one niche, if your product or service is appealing to another niche, you can create another website and repeat your success using the same strategies you used on the first website.

2. Link Exchanges. Exchanging links with other websites that have complimentary products or services will not only give you direct traffic from the link but it will also help you with your pursuit to get ranked in the search engines. At the time of this writing, Google is the most widely used search engine, and it's widely known that they consider the number of links pointing to your website as part of the determination where to rank your website.

3. Write Articles. Writing articles with information that is interesting and useful for your niche market will help you gain traffic to your site. When writing an article, include a resource box at the end of the article that includes information about the author (that's you) and a link to your website. Then distribute the article to article directories for other website owners to use on their site or in their newsletters and ezines. This does two things, you gain traffic when someone sees your article on another website and clicks your link and you get a link that points back to your site for the search engines to use to rank your site higher.

4. Using a Signature Line in Online Forums. This is a strategy that could be quite time consuming so don't let it take up huge amounts of your time, however it is quite effective in drawing traffic to your website. Join forums and messageboards that are useful to your niche market and then become part of the community. When you make a post, be sure it's useful and relevant to the information that is being discussed, then at the bottom of your post, sign-off with your name and little blurb about your company with a link to your website. These are often referred to as "sig lines". Be sure to read the forum's guidelines to be sure you're using the proper etiquette in the forum and to be sure signature lines are allowed. If they are not allowed, do not use this strategy in that forum as it could cause you to be banned from that forum.

5. Start A Newsletter. Having a newsletter is one of the best ways to market to your customers and potential customers. You will need to have a service that will host your list and allow you to send your newsletter. Then you put a sign-up box on your website and your visitors will sign-up. Periodically, you decide how often, you send those who have signed up an email with information that is relevant to your niche. This information could be general info or it could be specifically about your product. To get your visitors to sign-up you can offer a special report, e-course, ebook or anything that would entice them to give you their email address. When you choose the service that will host your email list, be sure they do a double opt-in confirmation of those who subscribe, it's now the law.

In this article we covered five great ways to market your website and a couple of things you need to do before you ever even start. Now it's time to get out there and implement some of these strategies.

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