Five Tips for Creating a Sticky Website

sticky website, image by enokson on flickrAs an online business owner, building traffic to your website is important to your success. Equally important is keeping your visitors on your site and having them come back often. The longer they ‘stick around’, the higher your chances are of making sales.

Here are five easy ways to make your website sticky.

#1 Stand Out

Sometimes it’s hard to stand out from the crowd but with millions of websites to choose from, you have to be different. Nobody will visit a boring “me too” site – it’s that simple.

To stand out, you need to know your unique selling proposition (USP). What sets you apart from all the other websites talking about the same topic?

You also need to have interesting content that gets your visitors talking. Give them a reason to talk about your site. Offer them ways to interact with you. The more interested they are, the more they’ll spread the word about your website.

#2 Emphasize the Benefits

Whether you sell products, services or simply offer information, it’s important to focus on what you can do for your visitors.

Before you can emphasize the benefits, you first need to know who your ideal customer is. Who needs your information, product or service? What is their age, gender, average income, interests, location, etc.? Knowing this will help you write specifically to them and know which benefits to emphasize.

#3 Stay Focused

The quickest way to lose visitor interest is to confuse and overwhelm them.

Your website should have a clear focus and stay centered on that focus. In addition, if you want visitors to do something, tell them. Giving them too many options and no direct instruction can quickly cause confusion.

#4 Work Your Email List

If you don’t have an email list, get one. With all of the low-cost options available these days, there is no reason you should be without a way to contact those who are interested in what you have to offer.

Studies show that it takes contacting the average customer five to seven times before they will buy from you. This time is spent getting to know you and building their trust in what you offer.

If you don’t have them on a mailing list and they forget to return to your website, you lose out on a huge amount of business.

#5 Update Regularly

Part of what keeps visitors coming back is updating your site regularly. This is especially important if you have a blog. A stagnant site will cause visitors to quickly lose interest and never return.

In addition, search engines love fresh content. Making the search engines happy means more traffic for you.

Conclusion

Making your site sticky can boost sales exponentially and it isn’t hard to do. With a little thought and time you will have your visitors begging for more.

 

 

Evergreen Topics versus Hot Topics – Which Is Best?

topic, content creation When you’re trying to come up with content for your website, the question of green topics versus hot topics often comes up. Green content, often referred to as “evergreen” content, is content that will usually be good for many months or even years. On the other hand, hot topics are immediately “old” after a short period of time. Even a day or two might be too long for hot topics.

The clear as mud answer as to which kinds of topics are best, is that you definitely want to have a website full of green topics, interspersed with some hot topics.

Most of the things you write about should be evergreen, which makes green topics more important than hot topics. However, you should still use hot topics. The right mixture of both evergreen and hot topics depends entirely on your niche. You might have 80 percent evergreen and 20 percent hot topics in order to put some new information into the mix and excite your readers. Try different percentages to see what works best for your niche.

Green topics last longer than hot topics in terms of how long people can read them without feeling like they’re reading something out of date. That isn’t to say that you won’t eventually have to update and freshen up your evergreen topics – you will eventually. But with hot topics you can’t freshen them up. As soon as they’ve expired their shelf life, they’re just content that’s basically taking up space.

Having plenty of green content on your site will pay off, month after month and even year after year. Plus, writing regular green topics is a great way to show off your personality, and tell stories that are interesting to your audience. But, people are much more likely to share hot topics with their friends. A well-timed hot topic post will be shared more immediately with friends across social media. Also, hot topics are terrific for when you just can’t think of anything to write about. You can search industry news and come up with a hot topic off the cuff to add some excitement to your content.

But! … Hot topics are a great way to bring excitement to your blog posts and content on your website. They are great for getting discussions going. However, it’s important not to be behind the curve when writing about a hot topic. You have to get to the hot topic right away because it’s not going to be relevant tomorrow or next week. Writing about hot topics requires you to stay aware of industry trends so that you can be fast on your feet with getting the information out there.

Conclusion

In summary, to create a well-rounded and interesting website the content should be mostly green topics with a splash of hot topics. By doing both green and hot topics, you’ll provide your audience with more well-rounded choices of content. In addition, having a variety of content to choose from will make your blog or website that much more interesting, current and relevant to your target audience.

Deciding What Products to Sell This Year

products for sale, what to sell Making product choices can be tricky. Everyone wants to have products that customers want to buy – products that bring in sales and profits. But how can you predict what’s going to be hot, especially if there aren’t any discernible trends yet?

Here are some ways for getting a firmer grasp of the market to help decide what you want to offer.

Talk to Vendors and Suppliers

One of the best things you could do is pick up the phone and give your vendors or suppliers a call. While you might only sell to one metropolitan area or one specific online sub-market, chances are your vendors are in touch with a much wider market.

They’ll know what’s currently selling all over the country. They’ll know which products are picking up in demand. They’ll know which products are selling like hotcakes.

Get on good terms with manufacturers, wholesalers, vendors and suppliers. They can be a godsend when you’re trying to pick products.

Research Products on Google Trends

Head over to Google Trends and type in the product names that you’re considering selling. Check and see whether more or fewer people are looking for the product each month.

Ideally, you’re looking for products with an upward trend, but which aren’t oversaturated in the market yet.

Talk to Your Customers

Talk to your customers about what they’re excited about next year. What items would the buy if you stocked them?

Try talking to your customers in person, as well as sending digital surveys to your customer list.

Monitor Your Website’s Search

Keep a log of all the search queries performed on your website’s search box. If you notice people regularly searching for products on your site that your site doesn’t offer, that’s probably a good indication that you should stock those items.

Check Out Your Competitors

Check out your competitors, both online and offline. What are they stocking? What aren’t they stocking?

Seeing one competitor do something might not be a great indication that you should do it too. But if a whole slew of competitors are all doing the same thing, then you should probably pay attention. Chances are they’re catching on to a trend that you aren’t aware of yet.

Err on High Profit Margins and Consumable Products

If you’re ever in doubt between several products to stock, all else being equal aim to stock items that have a high profit margin and are consumable. Consumable products need to be purchased again and again, which results in a lot of repeat sales.

Conclusion

Use these techniques to get a better sense for where your market is at. There’s no crystal ball to see into the future, but these tactics should make it a whole lot easier to predict what will sell and what won’t.

Over to you: How do you determine when and what you are going to offer?

 

 

Easy Tips for Managing Your Business Hours

time management, business hours, managing business hoursTime management is one of the biggest challenges home business owners face. New technologies have given us more freedom to have flexible schedules and many more opportunities to slack off. Here are a few tips you can use to get yourself on track to being more productive.

Write a to do list and keep it in a prominent place. It is also a good idea to prioritize your list and do it in (or close to) that order so you know the most important things are getting done. Or, if you know when you’re most productive during the day, do the #1 item during that time.

Cross off everything below #5. If something is #8 on your list, it’s probably not going to get done that day. And if it’s not important enough to be high on the list, you probably don’t need to do it that day. It will probably just sit there, looming on your to do list, making you feel unaccomplished. Besides, if you get everything done on your list, you can always make a new one later in the day.

Take care of your most difficult task first. Often we spend a lot of our day coming up with ways to avoid tasks we don’t want to do. We may do this by getting other tasks done, or we may just play solitaire on the computer instead. If you get your worst task done first, you’ll not only get to your other tasks rather than avoiding them, but you’ll also have a sense of accomplishment to help motivate you through the rest of your day.

Take short breaks by doing something you really like doing. It’s always been said that you should keep your mind on your work and not let other things distract you or you won’t get any work done. However, recent research has shown that this isn’t true. In fact, it’s the opposite of the truth. Taking breaks actually increases your productivity when you get back to work. Take short breaks, but set a specific time limit and stick to it. You should also pick your activities carefully and stay away from those you know you won’t be able to stop doing once break time is done.

Clear your desk (and computer desktop) of distracting things. If multitasking helps you get stuff done, then go ahead and work on several projects at a time, but don’t multitask between a project and an internet conversation or reading a funny website. Keep your fun time away from your work time. Otherwise you’ll find you have very little actual work time.

Conclusion

It’s not that difficult to manage your business hours and get more down. By just making a few small adjustments, you can drastically increase your productivity.

Now to you: What tips do you have for getting more done?

What Is Inbound Marketing?

If you have been keeping up with marketing tactics online, chances are you are doing some inbound marketing.

What is inbound marketing?

It’s marketing that focuses on customers finding you. This differs from previous tactics that were more in-your-face with paid advertisements all over the place. Today’s marketing methods are subtle. They are more smooth and slick. They work at getting customers to like and trust you before jumping in and selling products.

Want to know more about inbound marketing what is working for businesses out there? Check out this infographic.

Infographic: How Effective is Inbound Marketing?

Infographic found here.

How Split Testing Can Help Your Marketing

split testing, A/B testing, marketing online,

image by stockimages on freedigitalphotos.net

How do you know if your marketing strategies are working or not? You could be throwing a lot of money down the drain on a failed scheme. Luckily, split testing can help you figure it out.

Split testing, or A/B testing, your landing pages, email subject lines, marketing ads and advertising copy will supply vital data that offers insights into your market and how you can better reach your target audience.

Split testing your marketing basically entails running two campaigns with specific differences to compare which version yields the best results and highest overall conversion rate.

Why should you split test? Because it allows you to see what is working best. It can help you:

  • Increase conversions. Figuring out your audience response to most will allow you to utilize that information and increase your performance.
  • Learn more about your audience. As a marketer, it is essential that you know who you are marketing to. By testing different subject lines, content, forms and adds; you can get to know what your customers like best continue to give that to them.
  • Adjust when things change. Unfortunately, just because the marketing tactic has worked before does not mean it will continue working. As your audience and their needs change you will want to change how you do your marketing. Continuously testing will ensure that your marketing campaigns are always effective.

Conclusion

As you can see, split testing is a very effective way of determining what works best for your business and your audience. It’s not magic; but science, technique and trial and error.

 

How to Create Multiple Streams of Income

extra money, making additional income, make money online

image by Stuart Miles on freedigitalphotos.net

Want to work less and still make more? Of course you do. No one in their right mind is going to tell me, “No! I want to work my tail to the bone and make squat.” Duh.

So the best way to accomplish this goal is by creating streams of income. It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have; you can multiply your earnings by creating multiple streams of income. The key word here is multiple. You need to create as many different ways to continually bring in money as you can. Here’s how to get started.

First, create a product or service. Then figure out different ways to make money from it. You can offer a whole sale price for your product and even a bulk order discount on services. You can sell your product full price on your own website or if it’s a physical product in a store.

You can recruit affiliates (start with customers) who will promote the product and/or service for you. You can write a book, and open up a coaching business or consulting business. You can even teach a class about your topic. These are all different income streams surrounding the same product or service.

You want to have a good mix of active income and passive income. Active income are activities you perform directly to earn revenue – such as providing a service like coaching, writing, administrative work and so forth. Passive income is when you do work once, and are paid for it indefinitely. This would be something like writing an eBook or information product, or selling memberships to a club.

The wonderful thing about earning money from a multitude of sources is that if one goes south, you’re not going to starve. Let’s look at an example of writing one book.

Your Book: How to XYZ

Sources of income for your Book How to XYZ:

* Direct book sales

* Your own product recommendations via blog and book

* Consulting/coaching with people who want to do XYZ

* Speaking at events about XYZ

* Teaching courses about XYZ

* Selling other people’s related products on your blog or book

* Advertising relevant ads on your blog about XYZ

* Writing for magazines about XYZ

These are all legitimate ways to make money just due to one book. The book could have been born out of another money-making activity such as being a contractor, virtual assistant, writer, graphic designer, internet marketer, or something else entirely like a health and nutrition expert. Whatever your niche you can make money doing the things listed above, creating multiple streams of income that far exceed the potential income from just one activity.

The idea of multiple steams of income works for bricks and mortar businesses too. If you sell a widget retail, you can now offer it wholesale, and attract affiliates to sell for a commission – thereby creating three streams of income from one product. You could expand that further by writing a book, recommending other products, consulting with others and so forth.

Conclusion

It’s not hard to create multiple sources of income once you start considering all the ways you can earn from one product or service.

Take Breaks to Increase Productivity

increase productivity, get more doneAre you working and working but just can’t seem to focus and get stuff done? You might be considering changing careers or even seeing a doctor, but the solution may be much more simple than that – just take a break. Taking short ten minute breaks throughout the day can help you refocus and reenergize so you’re more productive once you get back to work.

Why Take a Break?

Scientists and psychologists have actually done many studies that show how effective breaks can be. In fact, many large businesses have now started adopting break times into the course of the regular day. Employees are actually paid to sit at their desk and read, research topics they enjoy on the Internet, and do other things that interest them. It’s been shown that allowing these breaks actually increases productivity and employee satisfaction enough to compensate for the lost time plus some.

It’s Break Time!

To get the most good out of your breaks, try making your activities something that will help increase production when you return to work, rather than something that simply distracts you. Some great options include aerobic activity or relaxation exercises. They’ll clear your mind, while producing chemicals in your body that will boost concentration when you get back to work.

If physical exercise isn’t your thing, or you just don’t have the chance to do it at work, there are other things you can do to relax and clear your mind so you can get back to work. Meditation or other breathing exercises only take a few minutes, but can help you feel better mentally and physically. Not only does it help you focus, it can also lower your blood pressure and help reduce the physical signs of stress.

Breaker Beware

The biggest danger in taking breaks is not getting back to work when the break is done. A lot of people will try to skip breaks because they’re afraid they won’t get back to work and the work won’t get done. But when you skip breaks, you can significantly decrease productivity and actually end up getting less work done. The key is setting a time limit to your breaks and sticking to them. If you have trouble, try setting a timer when you take a break, or having someone back you up by making sure you get back to work.

One note about short breaks: If you’ve been pushing too hard and have reached burnout, a ten minute break just isn’t going to be enough. If you are finding yourself feeling sick, tired, and only ever in a negative mood, especially about work, you are probably burnt out by work. In this case, you not only need to incorporate short breaks into your day, you also need to alter your how and when you work and may even need an extended vacation.

Conclusion

Breaks are an easy and effective way to increase your results and become more successful with very little effort.

Five Tips on Becoming a Better Web Content Writer

web content writer. image by Phonsawat on freedigitalphotos.netWhen most people search the Internet, they are in search of information. There is a lot of it out there. As a business owner, you want them to find your website and eventually become a customer. Unfortunately, that can be a little difficult if your web content, well, sucks. Here are five ways that you can enhance your web content writing skills.

What makes you good at what you do? Part of it is natural talent. For a creative medium like writing, it is just plain work if you don’t have some inclination towards doing it well. The other part of the equation is continuing education. To be a good writer, the learning process doesn’t ever stop.

  1. Read other people’s content. You won’t learn what the competition knows if you don’t read their stuff. We aren’t just talking about the really successful content writers but new people as well. Read all sorts of content to see what they do that is different from what you are doing. You could pick up some handy pointers.
  1. Stay current. With online writing, what is accepted practice changes all the time. Get a copy of the AP Stylebook for starters. Whomever you write web content for will want to know that you have kept up with the latest developments. Along the same lines, learn about sentence and paragraph structure. Run-on sentences are not attractive and neither are paragraphs without a main theme.
  1. Keep learning. This is the education piece. To write on a variety of subjects, get familiar with them. If real estate is a hot topic, learn what you can about it so that you can write intelligently. People look for experts in a certain field. Why look for anyone besides the most knowledgeable? Set yourself up to be an expert.
  1. Choose a niche. If you are going to be an expert, you need to have a field. It is hard to concentrate on three or four different areas. Choose one and establish yourself there before moving on to another area. Check out the content already in cyberspace before choosing your niche. An area that is already saturated may not be a good place to start unless you can add something new and unique. It would be great if that niche was little explored by others. You’ll become a pioneer.
  1. Find a writing style. Basically, find your voice. Are you laid back, witty or serious? Every writer has a voice – they just need to explore and develop it. Some writers try to copy another’s style but that’s hard work. Your voice will flow naturally and feel comfortable when you write in it.

Conclusion

These five tips will help you to hone your skills and increase your value online. Which will lead to more website traffic and more sales. Pretty sweet right?

 

Advanced Marketing Tactics That Every Business Owner Should Try

business marketing, online marketingThe old ways of marketing where you place an advertisement, attract consumers and make sales that easily are over. Today, marketing is all about making connections and attracting attention. Here are some advanced marketing tactics that are working right now for many businesses.

Create Responsive Websites

This is almost a beginner’s tip at this point, but just in case you have been around awhile and haven’t made the move, it’s time. It’s way past time. Your website needs to be mobile and it needs to be mobile now. People are using mobile technology more than they are using PCs today to access online information.

Social Media Action

It’s not enough to join social media. Fill out your profiles completely; ensure that they represent your brand in a cohesive manner. Then, take action on social media by sharing your content, other people’s content, and participating in discussions on social media. If all you do is share your own things on social media, no one is going to even notice you. Participation is key.

Go to and Host Online and Live Events

Not only should you participate in online events such as Google On Air Hangouts, other webinars and events, and live events, you should also plan and host them. Having online and live events is a great way to personify yourself to your audience. Until they hear you or see you live, you might just be an avatar on the computer screen. Once you do show yourself, your business will explode.

Become an Author

Authoring a book today is a great way to create a calling card for your business. The barriers to entry are lower than ever, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that being an author of a book within your niche is a great way to market your core business. Write or ghostwrite a book of interest to your audience, edit it well, have a professional cover made, and sell it on Kindle. You can even use a print on demand service if you want to have print versions available for signing at events.

Vary Your Content

It’s important that you use a variety of different forms of content on your blog and/or website. Don’t just use text – use video, podcasts, audio and more to give your audience a lot of ways to consume your content. This varied approach also looks amazing when you post them to your social media feeds.

Conclusion

If you haven’t changed up your marketing methods lately, it’s time to do it Try these advanced marketing tactics starting today, and within 90 days you’ll see a huge difference in your marketing results.