Google AdwordsThe influence of Google and Google Adwords can be understood from the fact that a recent survey asked the question “where is the center of the internet?”, and perhaps unsurprisingly the answer was Google.

Since its inception in 1998, Google has become a mainstay of modern life. In fact, it’s probably the most commonly chosen home page on the web, with countless people using it as a starting point whenever they browse the web.

But Google’s not just about searches – far from it. Its diversification has been a talking point for years, and it now offers everything from calendars to online office applications. One of its most popular ventures is the Google Adwords program, and there are now thousands of companies who rely on Google Adwords as their sole source of new business.

What is Google Adwords – Clicks, bids and conversions?

So what is Google Adwords and how does Google Adwords benefit businesses? Well, instead of patronising you with a by-the-numbers description of what Google Adwords is, let’s just say it’s a service whereby companies pay Google to show their ads at the top of the search results.

There’s a whole host of metrics that can be analyzed, and making an effective Google Adwords campaign has become somewhat of an art form; however it all boils down to one thing: a well-written ad. It’s the wording of the ad that causes people to click, provides them with a strong call to action and (with any luck) converts them into new customers. It’s all about getting them on the hook then dazzling them with your business.

So how do you go about writing an effective Google Adwords ad? Well, first off you need to consider your limitations. Your ad can only have a maximum of 70 characters including spaces for the body and 25 including spaces for the title. This doesn’t give you much wiggle room – so you need to be as succinct as possible.

Fishing for new business – Effective Google Adwords ads

We already know that you’re aiming to get new customers on the hook, so you should have a good idea of how to go about this (assuming you already do some self-promotion).

If you really have no idea about the selling points of your business, or whether you have a USP (Unique Selling Point), you might benefit from a brainstorming session to answer those questions.

Assuming you already have your list of features and benefits, let’s think about distilling those into less than 100 characters.

Your first job? Throw out the features and focus on benefits. That’s right, kick them to the curb.

A search engine user is looking for answers, so you give them to them. Decide what your company’s absolute best benefit is, then focus on that. If you sell the best running shoes in town, tell everyone in your title. If you’re the only stockist of the latest in fishing lines, shout about it! It’s all about giving users an offer they can’t refuse. Once they’re on the website you can fill them in on the details, so polish your key benefits and truly make them shine.

Breaking the law, breaking the law – The Google Adwords Guidelines

Don’t forget that, just like all elements of life, there are rules and regulations for you to follow at Google Adwords. And most of them are common sense: don’t use profanity, don’t insult people, and so on.

If you’ve managed to keep your business afloat so far, you probably know how your customers like to be spoken to. So take this tone of voice and expand it to the national (or even global) scale of Google Adwords. As a general rule of thumb, if it works in ‘real life’, it’ll probably work online too.

After a little practice with writing Google Adwords ads, you’ll soon find that it’s a balancing act. Perhaps write a few options, set them all to go live, then wait and watch the fireworks. You’ll quickly find out what works and what doesn’t. And through this process of trial and error, you’ll quickly find your diamond in the rough and you will see that you have some killer Google Adwords ads running on the web.

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Traffic DashboardTraffic Dashboard, another product and another review! Is it what you are wondering?

If you check out Clickbank for the number of products that have been launched in the past few days, you will find that the numbers are crazy. Every other day there will be at least 3-4 products on internet marketing and online business. How much worthy are these products?

Before we look into any of these products, let me ask you a question.

What is the objective behind somebody taking to the internet to make money?

If you ask me the reason, I would say it is to lead a life free of worries. It is to get out of the 9 – 5 treadmill and spend more time with my family. It is to get out of a “JOB” that is taking away the most precious 9 hours of my life.

So the first criteria for me, when I look at doing something on the internet is to do something that does not push me onto the treadmill again.

A simple evaluation of the products that get launched these days should give you the reason for all of this discussion.

These products are not giving you a launch pad to achieving your objectives. Rather they are just helping you switch from one job to another.

They just teach you how to do a different job and once again bind you into another treadmill.

Traffic Dashboard – What’s Different?

What I normally look for in any product is, if it is giving me some tools to simplify what I am doing.

There is no “Rocket Science” in internet marketing. The steps involved are extremely simple and straightforward. All that is required is a bit of commitment to remain consistent.

It is here that Traffic dashboard wins. Traffic Dashboard is not just another software that gives you a new treadmill to run on. Instead it is a collection of tools that can simplify the steps that are involved in internet marketing so that you can build an online business that gives you “residual income“.

What is Traffic Dashboard?

One of the most difficult things in internet marketing is “getting traffic”. Though the steps are pretty simple, it is often time consuming. The is one of the highlights of Traffic Dashboard.

Just as the name suggests, Traffic Dashboard has a collection of handy tools that can help you generate traffic to your websites and blogs.

Traffic generation could be done by article marketing, blog commenting, social media marketing, search engine optimization etc. Traffic dashboard has some simple tools that can help you do all this. All of these are neatly arranged in the interface of Traffic Dashboard so that you don’t have to search around for anything.

Why do you need Traffic Dashboard?

Internet Marketing pretty much follows the 80-20 principle like all other things do. It if often observed that the reason people fail at internet marketing is because they loose focus and keep doing the 80% things that are not that important and will only contribute to 20% of your success thereby ignoring things that are really important.

Traffic Dashboard helps you cut down on this wastage of time by ensuring that all you need is available at one point and in an easily accessible form.

I liked the way these tools are organized at Traffic Dashboard and it is hence once of my biggest recommendations to anyone starting off on the internet.

You might want to check out Traffic Dashboard here.

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Affiliate Marketing

This is a guest post by Roberto. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most commonly used methods of earning online income, especially amongst those who are good at internet marketing. Because product creation is difficult and costly, so the people who’re good at marketing and not interested in creating and working on their own products, usually go for marketing other businesses and earning commission on each sale.

While not a walk in the park, but once it gets going affiliate marketing can be a very good source of passive income, hence an ideal choice for people looking to make money online without worrying about anything else like customer service, product delivery, etc.

The Past of Affiliate Marketing:

In its early days, Affiliate marketing used to be a pretty straight forward job. Those who had the “first mover’s advantage” didn’t have to do much. They selected a niche with low competition but rising demand, bought some keyword rich domains, authored a sales page, and did some marketing while using quite inexpensive methods (e.g. article marketing). Most of these one page websites, with very little investment, worked out quite well for affiliate marketers.

Going one step ahead, they started targeting the entire niche (weight loss, online money making, online degrees, etc). They made websites with lots of affiliate links for different products, and invested heavily on link building to get on the first page of Google, for a variety of industry specific keywords.

Things were going pretty smooth until Google released Panda into the arena. Contrary to its delightful name (i.e. Panda), the update turned out to be a raging bull, knocking out many affiliate websites with thin content, along with the content farms.

The Future of Affiliate Marketing:

So, does the affiliate marketing future looks gloomy just because Google has ditched the websites with lots of affiliate links and thin content? Certainly not, true that Google has came down hard on those websites, but the primary reason for the penalty are not affiliate links but thin content. The thing is that the majority of affiliate marketers were busy investing in link building (or off-page optimization to be precise), while paying absolutely no attention to their on-site content, using the same description and price comparisons being used on hundreds of similar websites. All these factors worked like indicators for Google that the website is adding no value to the web, hence deserves penalty.

So, what are we supposed to do?

Our Stance in Affiliate Marketing

The penalty has changed the way you are supposed to run a website meant for affiliate marketing. To keep it short and practical, you’ll have to create lots of unique and quality content in order to rank well in SERP’s. Take the example of a TV channel that shows lots and lots of advertisement and fewer programs as compared to a channel that airs more programs and fewer ads. Which one would you prefer? Google wants the same, serve more content and lesser ads (affiliate links), and everything will be fine.

Social Media:

For any business looking for good rankings and traffic, social media is fast becoming a necessity, and affiliate marketing is no different. If you want more traffic, more buzz, more sales, and better rankings (note that social signals are now considered a search engine ranking factor), you’ve got to make the most of social media. Again keep the “value” thing in mind, just posting your website’s links and doing “like exchanges” won’t really cut it for you.

All in all, the future of affiliate marketing is still promising, especially with a number of new markets shaping up, though you might have to settle for a little less profits (given that you will have to invest more on quality content and enhancing your on-site experience) but still the rewards are worth the investment.

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Merchant Account Forum

This is a guest post by Nisha. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.

Succeeding in business today requires flexibility, focus, discipline, perseverance, good planning and organizational skills. Businesses fail every day for many reasons, from mismanagement to changing market conditions, and while it is difficult to predict the success or, failure of any venture, there are certainly steps you can take to maximize your chances of success.

  • Start with a great idea. – Too often would-be entrepreneurs start up a business with only a vague idea of what it is they want to achieve. You don’t necessarily need new products or services to establish and grow a business, but you do need to have passion for your business idea. Unless you are genuinely excited about your business, it will be hard to motivate yourself and persevere through the tough times.
  • Look for a niche market. – Do some market research. Find out what is already available and how you can make your product or service stand out from the competition. Often a new twist on an old idea will give you a competitive advantage. Is there something that customers need that other businesses are not providing?
  • Write a business plan. – A well-crafted business plan provides you with a road map for your business. Since one of the major reasons for business failures is poor planning, attempting to launch a business without a plan to guide you is courting disaster. You can find excellent resources online to help you through the process.
  • Begin branding your business immediately. – You need to establish your presence in the marketplace. These days all businesses need a website, but for online businesses your website is your brand. It should be professional, informative, well written and have good search engine optimization. Utilize a variety of internet resources to market your products and services.
  • Stay on top of the day-to-day tasks that are essential to the success of your business. – Stay organized with a daily to-do list and check things off as you complete them. And keep detailed records. When you are busy, relying on memory alone is not a good idea. Being organized and knowing exactly where your business stands at any given moment, can allow you to recognize and head off potential challenges.
  • Learn to take calculated risks. Successful entrepreneurs grow their businesses by taking calculated risks. They analyze potential opportunities by looking at the downside; the worst case scenario. That knowledge can help you determine if your business can afford the risk. Calculated risks can generate impressive rewards.
  • Provide great customer service. Providing excellent customer service creates loyal customers who will return to you time and time again. It can also be one of the factors that will give you a competitive edge.
  • Don’t lose your focus. Just because you turn on your computer or open the doors of your business, doesn’t mean you are going to make any money right away. It takes time to get established and grow your business. Stay focused on your business plan and achieving your short-term goals.

More than half of new small business start-ups fail within the first four years. More often than not it is because they have failed in one of these areas. To survive and grow your business you need to make sure you leave as little as possible up to chance.

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Google+Are you on Google+ yet?

If you are an avid social media enthusiast, then it is highly unlikely that you have not heard about Google’s latest project aimed at competing with Facebook.

Does it really pose a threat to Facebook?

I would not want to think so. You might have a different opinion but only the next couple of years will prove if it seriously is a competition to Facebook.

I only pray that it doesn’t turn out to be a disaster like Google Buzz and the many other projects that Google launched in the past couple of years.

If Google+ is to be a threat to Facebook, they have to have something that Facebook doesn’t have. But what will that be is the million dollar question. The first look at Google+ is impressive and I enjoyed the first encounter with it.

Google+ and Facebook

What is different in Google+ ?

It is a bit too early to say what is different, but the concept of creating “Circles” was wonderful. I had a difficult time creating lists and maintaining it in Facebook. But creating circles and adding friends to them was a matter of a couple of seconds in Google+.

Google + Vs FacebookAlso the appearance was very refreshing. Though Google+ had the typical Google look, it still had a freshness to it.

One another win over Facebook was the option of creating “Hangouts”. Hangouts is like a private chatroom where you can chat with your friends and even use webcam. Facebook chat was always a “PAIN”.

Though there are not too much to Google+ right now, the beginning is interesting.

What is worrying at Google+ ?

The last time round when Google started a similar service there were thousands of questions raised on the aspect of privacy. Google was making private information, public and this was what drove away a lot of people from services like Google Buzz.

I too, decided to do away with Google Buzz after this.

So, this worry still remains. I am not sure how Google will manage “Privacy” this time round, but have a feeling that they would do better because they will not want to repeat the same mistake.

One thing that I observed was that while, I was using an existing Google account to login to Google+, it did not pull any information from my profile. I had to update all of that which gives me a feeling that Google might keep Google+ away from the Google account profiles.

How to get onto Google+ ?

Google+ is in development stages and only accepts new accounts on invitations. I was lucky enough to get an invite and on board Google+.

Though I have yet not done too much with my account, I am still playing around with the new service.

In case you wish to get onto to Google+, you can make a comment below with your email address and I can send you an invite. Please do not mention any email addresses in the comment box.

Join me on Google+

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Advertisement

This is a guest post by Megan. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.

It seems that getting in touch with people is much harder than it used to be. It used to be that a business could place an ad on TV or radio and business would be booming. But today, advertisement exists as a different world entirely. The world of consumers being nudged by ads during their favorite show has shrunk considerably since the advent of Netflix and iPods.

These venues have replaced traditional TV and radio. It makes sense. With Netflix and iPod there aren’t any interruptions, which eliminates commercial airtime. When a commercial comes on during that defining moment in a person’s favorite TV drama, they get angry. The best thing for businesses to do is to find a more passive venue to interact with their customers.

Social media is huge. If a business doesn’t have a personal Facebook page, it might as well hang itself. So many people log onto Facebook and Twitter every day, and those who do tend to go back multiple times per day. What are they doing? They are checking on things that matter to them. They are updating statuses and tweeting about their experiences.

Experiences are key. Today’s people are experience-oriented individuals. It’s why traditional advertising is met with such contempt. Facebook and Twitter create an experience without pushing it upon people.

It’s actually so passive that it’s almost dismissible. For instance, Facebook has recently added a feature where when an individual mentions a business in their status update, they are able to “like” it. This is the newest way for businesses to track people who like their products or services.

Twitter is the same way. When a person chooses to follow a company’s Twitter page, they are signifying that they like that company. How can businesses market to these individuals? By tweeting and updating their statuses. These updates appear in news feeds for all those who are following them, for Facebook and Twitter alike.

Another way for businesses to interact with their customers is to hold special events. People like going to events, especially young people. When businesses tweet and update and announce their special events, more often than not their customers will come. If the event is extra special, like a sale or maybe a grand opening, they are likely to come with friends. These friends could be potential customers if they aren’t already. And if these potentials have a good experience, they are more likely to join the tribe and follow the business.

Another way for a business to reach more people is to update their education. Online universities offer everything from business degrees to criminal justice degree; they nearly have every degree that a traditional school offers. And they are also becoming more popular amongst the younger generation. So if more businesses were to interact with these institutions, they would have a better chance at reaching them.

Because the world has changed so much since the creation of the personal computer, businesses need to change too. That means using un-traditional methods to reach old and new customers. Innovating with social media, sponsored events and education are three ideas that businesses could and should use. Because when they finally catch up with the youth, the youth will already be on to the next thing—whatever that may be.

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List building Tips

This is a Guest Post by Susan. You can read the guidelines to guest posting at our write for us page.

Email subscribers list can be one of the biggest assets for just about any online business. The contacts you build and make over the years can all be encapsulated into however big or small your business email list is.

This opt-in list, therefore, is of supreme importance for more than one reason. At any given time, it provides your business an opening to reach your clients for follow up marketing. There are many ways of increasing or even building your email lists via your website. Some of these methods are more in practise than others. Following are some of the simplest methods of expanding and/or building your email list.

Incentive

Have you heard the saying, ‘there is no such thing as a free meal’? Well, it is true even in this case. In order to build a list, and get your targeted customers to sign up for your newsletter, you need to entice your visitors to leave their email addresses. You can offer them an incentive that can be anything. One of the most popular means of ensnaring more and more people is free giveaway. These giveaways can be anything ranging from a free eBook to a discount or whatever you think can work for your customers without putting much pressure on your budget.

Blog (subscription)

Blogs can serve multiple services and bringing in new email subscribers is one of those benefits. If you are offering quality content that people find helpful in any way, then more and more people would be looking to stay updated via your blog. Rather than coming to check your blog for the updates all the time, they will just opt for signing up as subscribers. That way you get their email address and your visitors get to access invaluable information as soon as it is uploaded, providing convenience for both the reader as well as the business.

Squeeze Page

Amongst all methods employed to get the email address from your visitors, this one perhaps may sound a little desperate. A squeeze page is designed with the sole purpose of forcing a sale or subscription out of the visitor. This is a very aggressive method, and it can be a little off putting for the visitors, for obvious reasons.

These Squeeze Page tactics are more often a miss rather than a hit. Nevertheless, it remains as a widely employed method.

Buying Business Email Lists

You can just read the heading and know for yourself that this method really kills the purpose of having an email list. Developing a list of subscribers is not easy and it might take business years in building a sizable list. Nobody would be wasting so much time or resources on building these lists if buying lists can serve the purpose. You cannot just go and buy lists and consider all the work done.

There are many ‘companies’ out there selling ‘authentic’, free of spam business email lists. I have not really tried many, and maybe there will be some that work to some extent, but still nothing beats creating a list of your own…

Conclusion:

Remember, the techniques employed for making your visitors to subscribe will differ from one type of business to another. So sticking with just one method is probably a bad idea. You should experiment with different techniques and try to come up with your own ideas as well, when you do, please share it with us via comments.

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