Mixx it up with TweetMixx

November 17, 2009

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I have found a fun Twitter tool with the help of PC Magazine.  I was at the library a couple of days ago with my kids and decided to look at a magazine while they were playing and picking out books.  In the few pages I had time to read, I was able to find a couple of nice resources in there.  The one that stood out the most was TweetMixx.com.

What do you see a lot of when you are on twitter?  LINKS!  Admittedly there are a LOT of posts on Twitter that include links.  You never know what’s going to be on that link until you click on it since people have a limited space to introduce the link.  TweetMixx.com shows the tweets of people you are following as they would appear in Twitter.  If there is a link contained in the tweet there is another box including further detail of what is behind that link.  This is a very easy way to see if you actually want to click on the link. The first time you log in with your Twitter account name and password you can enter Interests.  Those will stay there under your user name so you don’t need to enter them each time you come back to the site.

How else can TweetMixx be used?

  • If you are on Twitter to network you’ll want to comment to other people’s blog posts so you are not seen as just a spammer (someone who all they do is post links to their website).  It’s spamming AND it’s annoying.  When I was trying this out last night I found I RT’d more AND commented more on postings.
  • You can also bring up people that are talking about a topic that interests you when you click on the tab “what interests you?’  I used keywords “my dog” and “dog.”  You can also choose to look at tweets that only contain links or ALL of your friends’ tweets.  I choose all since I’m looking for people I can comment or RT for … not necessarily looking for links.
  • You can also look at Twitter’s top topics as determined by the most popular links on Twitter in the last 24 hours.
  • Topics that are trending on Twitter at the moment.  Although when I clicked on two, no tweets came up for them so I’m not sure why not.
  • The Channels tab allows you to see the tweets of companies that have created accounts on TweetMixx.com.  You can easily see what links they are recommending.  PC Magazine is one of them so that’s one that I’ll check out on there.

AngelaS

Is Amazon Amazing?

November 16, 2009

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I will soon find out.  I received an email and phone call from an Amazon representative about a month ago and didn’t think much of it.  Figured they would want hundreds of dollars for something.  Then I received another phone call and email and figured I’d find out what it was all about.  I spoke with Stephanie from Amazon.  She intruduced the Pro Merchant Account with Amazon to me.  Pointed out that there are not a lot of providers of my product line on Amazon.  So I was faced with a decision to open an account with Amazon and hope for increased revenue OR sit back and be content with what I have currently with sales with little change on the immediate horizon.  To help determine if I would open a Pro Merchant Account I had a few things to consider:

  1. Cost of an Amazon merchant account.
  2. Ease of posting products.
  3. How many competing companies.
  4. Could I provide the best price.
  5. Christmas season is approaching.
  6. Loss with failure of Amazon store.

Let’s go through my own responses to the above points:

  1. Cost of the Amazon Merchant Account is $39.99 per month and they take 15% of each sale.  I think the  15% is steap but I had a couple
  2. If a product already appears on Amazon posting your product is incredibly easy.  I started by posting about 30 manually and that was pretty quick in itself.  Then I figured out how to use the upload template in Excel and saving it as a text file.  That allowed me to have 170 products listed since Friday night.
  3. In my niche there are not very many competing companies.  In my products I’m usually only up against 2 companies so that doesn’t give me many companies to beat out in price. 
  4. For the majority of the goods I am selling, I CAN beat the best price to be the lowest price for that product on Amazon.  What if I can’t beat the price?  In those cases I see if there are a lot of companies offering the product.  For instance, if 7 companies offer a product and I can’t beat the lowest price.  I don’t bother listing.  Maybe when I have a rating on there, but right now I figure it’s not worth it.  If there are 2 companies listing and I can’t beat the 1st price but I can beat the 2nd I will price between the two.  There could be a number of reasons the customer could pick my price over the lowest price: had a poor experience with the lowest price company, likes my profile, prefers my return policy, etc.  There are so many reasons they could pick my company over the low price company that I think it’s good to post even if my price isn’t the lowest.
  5. Christmas obviously means more people doing online shopping.  I thought this would be the ideal time to give Amazon a try. 
  6. If my storefront with Amazon does not work out I am only out $40 that I deserve to invest in the company.  I have been very conservative about investing in the company or taking any risk.  I figure now is the time and it’s with a very well known and reputable company on the internet.  In addition, the time to post items on Amazon isn’t so significant that I am out the time I could have spent on my own website.  Granted I’ve only been posting items that are already on there, but with that I’ve been able to post a significant 170 items. 

When Stephanie talked to me for the first time I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to Amazon.  I must say that I appreciated that Stephanie wasn’t pushing.  She offered to give me some time to think about it and see what was currently available on Amazon to assess whether it would be the right decission for my own company.  When she called me back at the time I specified it didn’t take long at all to set up my account and I was on my way to posting products. 

If you’re considering an account with Amazon, just be sure to do your research first.  Is your company worth the risk?  I expect to update you in January on whether Amazon is Amazing in my eyes.
Do you have an Amazon Pro Merchant account?  What is your experience?
AngelaS

Link Submissions

November 13, 2009

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I’m using this blog post to highlight 3 ways to submit your links to other websites so that you are sure to include the all important alt tags (alternative text). 

Let’s first start with an explanation of “anchor text” as it relates to submitting your website for post on another website.  When you submit your website to another site through a link exchange it is highly recommended to use “anchor text.”  Is that some new concept that takes hours to study and learn before you can MAYBE implement it successfully?  Nope!  This is actually not as complicated as it may sound. 

What is Anchor text?  It is the attachment of the link for your store to a keyword that is important to your site.  Often people attach the link to only their website name.  That is not the most optimal position.  What’s important is that Google robots find your keywords.  From there you want to tell the robots to go directly to your site without passing GO. 

It is also important that you take the person/google-bots to a site that has the same keywords in it’s title that you used in your anchor text. 

Method 1 to submit your link:

  • Let’s use my own website as an example.  If I am placing a link on someone’s site I might want to promote my dog dishes with the following text:  Your Pet Store With More carries very unique personalized dog bowls in addition to other fabulous pet supplies.  “Personalized dog bowls” are keywords on the linking page and they are included in the URL for the page. 
  • You can even mix it up a bit by highlighting something different each time you submit your URLs so you’re getting different links for your websites out there.  I could replace personalized dog bowls with dog carriers the next time.  Avoid using “click here” as your anchor text.  It will not benefit your position in Google results.

Method 2 to submit your link:

Sometimes companies you are exchanging links with use the format of attaching your URL to the name of your store.  If you can’t talk them into doing it the easier way I’ve explained above try the following <a <href=”http://www.yourpetstorewithmore.com/products/Personalized-Dog-Bowls_137376/?page1&#8243; title=”Personalized Dog Bowls“>Your Pet Store With More </a>has a wide variety of dog bowls in addition to many other pet supplies for you and your best friend.  This is the alternate method to using alt tag in your link.

Method 3 to submit your link:

A third method people use is having you submit an image with your logo.  To that you can attach your link and alt text (Alternate Text) that will act like the anchor text.  <img alt="personalized dog bowls" src="http://custom.buyitsellit.com/11914/avatar.jpg" /></a><a href="http://www.yourpetstorewithmore.com/products/Personalized-Dog-Bowls_137376/?page1" target="_blank"></a> In red is your alt text.

Other tips:

  • When you ask someone to do a link exchange, it’s best to have your html code written out for them so the Webmaster can easily place the text into his links page.
  • You can even use this method of anchor text within your own website.  If a collar matches a leash provide a link to the leash with your keywords highlighted and the URL to match just as you would whe you do a link exchange.

Happy Linking!  Have any tips YOU’D like to share?
I’d love to hear comments on the article…
AngelaS

Link Exchanging The who why what and how

November 11, 2009

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With my own website I need to get a link to my website out there as many times as I can.  One method is link exchanges with other websites.  You put their link on your site and they put your link on their site.

WHO:

When you exchange links with a site it should be with similar companies but not companies that would be in competition with you.

  1. If someone else sells dog supplies I don’t want to link with them.  I am taking the chance that someone will find that person’s link and leave my store.  Eliminate all sources possible of detracting a customer from your site.  In this criteria you’ll also be finding companies that may interest your customers.  My customers may very well need a dog training video.  I am providing them with a valuable service with the recommendation of a source.
  2. The ideal exchange would be with a company that is related to mine.  For instance, a dog training school or doggie daycare.  That wouldn’t be direct competition and it is easier for the Google-bot to jump from a site about dog training to dog supplies than it is to jump from a site about kitchen gadgets to dog supplies.

WHY:

  • You want to exchange links to get your presence out there.  It is very important that Google see that many sites are linking to you.  It’s almost like a recommendation from all of these sites.  It makes sense really.  If you happen across stats of a site with 10 site linked to them vs a site with 100 sites linked to them the natural inclination is that the 100 site linked site is the more reputable and more well established company.  You want to show both your customers AND Google your strength throughout the internet.
  • Another reason to exchange links is that is one more place that people have the opportunity to find your site.  It’s one more opportunity to show up in Google search results and one more opportunity for a customer to stumble upon you on someone else’s website.

WHAT’s the BEST link exchange you could do?

Being added to a site where no reciprocal link is required.

Having a blog is a great opportunity to get your link out there without having to always return the favor.

  1. Other sites might link to you because they love your content.  That is exciting because you are getting a free link out there.
  2. You can comment on other blogs with MEANINGFUL comments and include your link.  Those are usually no-follow links so you aren’t given credit by Google, but it’s another group of people that will see your comment.  If they find your comment interesting they might visit your site.  I’d like to note that your blog should be meaningful.  Don’t just add “good post… visit my store at….”  I need to approve comments before they are posted and sorry but I don’t approve those types of comments. They are actually called SPAM.  Yep, you might be surprised by that but many times it’s filtered out by a spam filter on WordPress.  And if the filter doesn’t weed you out I will.  harsh but it’s SO annoying to see people do that over and over and to know it’s a worthless comment.

HOW:

So I’ve discussed getting the non-reciprocal and more valuable link.  Let’s discuss getting the link exchange with other sites related to your own.

  • I would go to other sites that are in competition with you.
  • See who they are linking to.
  • If they are linking to these people it’s most likely because those people linked to them.  What does that mean?  Those are the companies that are more likely to say yes to a solicitation from you.
  • Contact the people behind the links and ask them if they would be interested in a link exchange.
  • Provide them with your website address and any other pertinent information.  You could choose to send them language you’d like for your link at this point or after they’ve responded.  I generally look at their link page and see what kind of formatting they use.  Do they want a banner or an avatar to go with my store name and descriptions?  Do they just want a link?

Tomorrow I will cover what you should include with your link whenever possible.

I’d love to hear comments on the article…
AngelaS

Are you content with your level of content?

November 10, 2009

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Why is content so important to a website?

  • Do you think you are more likely to be found amongst the millions of websites out there if you have 800 pages of content or 100 pages of content.  If you guessed 800 you are correct.   The more pages you have the easier it is to find you.
  • Updating your website regularly with content shows Google and other search engines that your site is active.  If Google’s crawler comes to your site and sees you haven’t updated it for 2 months, they aren’t going to crawl your site again any time soon.  The crawler figures why bother… what’s changed?  And the more often Google crawls your site is directly related to your position in their search results.
  • Quality content speaks to your credibility.  Misspelled words and poor grammar does not a good salesperson make.  Writing skills and site appeal are directly related.  Once people find you, they will want to stay if you have drawn them in with your content.   I’ve gone to jpeterman.com for inspiration regarding product descriptions for my store.  The writer’s for their catalog are incredibly descriptive and poetic with their product descriptions are. If you ever need motivation to write better content, check out jpeterman.com.
  • Adding content to your site is an opportunity to add links to your site.   The Google robots like links.  If you add a link to your site someone might add your link to theirs.

Now, go create some content!
AngelaS

A guide to your landing page

November 9, 2009

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I have started working on a landing page for my site. Now, every page could be considered a landing page for your site, but THIS landing page will be special. How so? Here are the key elements of a great landing page:
Simple: Don’t distract the viewer by having a large number of menu items to the side. You want them to focus on the reason you brought them to that landing page. You don’t want to distract the viewer from your real message with other links nearby. I’ve hidden mine completely on my landing page. The only people can click is “home,” “contact,” “FAQ,” and “RSS.”
Offer something for FREE. An Ebook, a newsletter, a free item from your store for entering a contest. This should be above the “fold” on the page. What does that mean? You want to make sure the person can see the button before they have to scroll down. If there is no offer to view above the fold they are unlikely to scroll.
Ask the person for minimal information. I would recommend just an email address. The more people have to enter the more likely they are to exit or hit the back button.
Give the person a “call to action.” You are asking the viewer to take action… click or submit. Calls of action could be submitting their email address, clicking for a coupon code, or access to a PDF of a relevant article.
Short and to the point:
o The person you brought here might have a quick trigger finger for the back button so you want to give them as little to process as possible.
o Don’t ramble on and on because depending on the audience you have brought there they might not be interested in reading on a website they’ve never heard of until 5 seconds prior.
o Bullet points and bold lettering are great for keeping your points short. They can easily see the bullet points and bold type. They don’t have to read through a long line of sentence(s).
Stay on point: If the customer came in because they entered a search term of free marketing ebook, make sure you offer them a free marketing ebook.
Nice layout and design: You want to look professional with this page as it could make or break you in terms of your click-thru rate.

There are quite a few examples of Landing Pages on the internet. I’d recommend looking at a bunch of them then take a stab at your own.

Do some testing. Once you’ve done your landing page, create another one that is only slightly different (such as a different heading) and see which one customers prefer (this based on the click-thru rate).
AngelaS

Update on the new exciting Twitter Tool

November 7, 2009

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OK so that twitter tool I mentioned in the prior post. Not as impressive as I thought. I’ve learned that just following the group doesn’t show the group members that you are following them. So our goal is to have people follow us back normally. You need to adjust that goal a bit if you’re using this tool.

  1. You can follow the group and follow everyone in the group on an individual basis
  2. Watch the people’s comments from that group and if someone seems interesting follow them. Then hopefully they’ll follow you in return.
  3. Listorious also shows you a preview of what the group members have tweeted lately.  So you can decide at that point to follow.
  4. *** Best option as I see it. *** Check the person that created the group.  Enter that person’s user name into the cross follow section of Buzzom.  Then follow everyone they are following.  You should capture the group that way.

Any thoughts or suggestions for different uses of the Listorious tool?

AngelaS

New & Exciting Twitter Tool

November 5, 2009

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So you may have heard that now you can create your own lists on Twitter so you can Tweet to specific groups rather than your entire list of followers.  Great news for Marketers, people with Friends on Twitter, and a variety of other reasons.  For now, I’m not going to group my people together because anyone can like pets so I don’t want to eliminate anyone.

If you do decide to make your own list, you can make it public or private.  The lists that are public can be found on Listorious.  What does that mean for us?  We can go out there and get more people that have an interest in what we are marketing.  For instance, I found groups related to dogs.  Like “dogs who tweet” and “cats who tweet”.  Those are my people right!!  So there is a button where you can move over to your Twitter account and follow them all at once.  Hopefully half of them will follow me back.  I’ll play with this for awhile and see what other groups I can find.  If you want to follow people that enjoy crafts just enter “crafts” in the search box and you will get 4 pages of results.

Top 4 resources for newbies

November 2, 2009

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Do you want to start your own e-commerce website but have no idea where to start? When I first started this venture I thought I needed to know HTML code and have complicated programming skills.  Not so… to my pleasant surprise. You can be a novice computer user and gain popularity on the world wide web.

What’s first?  After you figure out what you want to sell you’ll want to find out who will host your website. That is the company that houses all of your information/code.   I use Buy it Sell It and have from the beginning.   It is $10 a month with no fees taken when you sell an item.  You’ll only pay fees through Paypal, Google Checkout, and/or your credit card carrier.  I’m pleased with Buy It Sell It overall.  Checking the chat boards you’ll find people that voice their displeasure for the site.   A lot of times I find their displeasure comes from high expectations that are not being met.  The thing many people should keep in mind about starting their own website is that it’s not just posting some items and hoping someone comes across them and wants to buy them. There is so much more involved than that. BUT the great thing is that the internet is FULL of places to help you gain the knowledge required for your site to succeed.
4 of my favorite sources of information that allow me to compete on the internet:

  1. The Selling Lounge:  This is a community of other sellers offering tips, answering questions, and generally being there for one another.  There are soooo many resources and so much help they offer that you’re better off checking them out for yourself.  Besides the great advice the site offers, is the lack of sarcasm that comes with soooo many other chat rooms.  Other chat rooms are filled with people that love to make you feel like an idiot.  Not this place.  Far from it!
  2. The Buy It Sell It Community: People here are very supportive as well.  You can find a variety of help here like SEO tips, templates for your store, help with setting up your store or making changes to your store, ideas for promoting your store, and many other types of help.
  3. Hubspot: This site I don’t think enough people know about.  They are a company that specializes in Inbound Marketing… getting your name/site out there and being noticed.  They have a very helpful blog and many webinars that are also extremely helpful.  I get at LEAST one great idea out of every webinar and blog.  This site really is a gem that more people should be taking advantage of.
  4. Small Business Website Development Training: This is an awesome class put on by Cricket Walker.  This is a FREE course online where over a period of a few weeks via emails she teaches you how to optimize your website for the search engines.  You’ll need to sign up for the SEO Training Class AND the Website Marketing Class at the same time.  I recommend setting up a separate email just for this class so you can categorize everything and it’s all easy to find when you want to refer back to lessons.  This truely is a remarkable class for the price… FREE.

Are there sources you think are helpful for new website ventures?  Please share them!

AngelaS

Important Link Building Techniques

November 2, 2009

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One thing you want to have on the top of your list of things-to-do is link building. The ideal is for someone to put your link on their page with no reciprical link from you. That could happen if you post a comment on their blog for example. If you agree to a link exchange be sure you are ethical and return the favor when you agree to do so.

Why create links for yourself in the World Wide Web?

  • Spiders from search engines like Google LOVE links.  The more often they come across a link of yours on the internet the more likely they are to crawl your site.  You want Google to crawl your site as often as possible because that will increase the likelyhood of you coming up in their search results.
  • Links on other sites also give potential customer’s one more way to find you.

What is a good link?

  • In the link for your text you’ll want to include good keywords.  For instance for my site I might say that Your Pet Store With more has a fantastic variety of dog dishes to choose from.  Notice how I used dog dishes to use as the link rather than my store name.  I am also using the link to that exact page in my store.  That page is optimized for dog dishes not something unrelated like safety harnesses.
  • If you get on a site with great authority that is also a big plus.  For instance, if you get your link onto NBC News that that means much more to search engines than if you add your site name to a new blog.

How do you build your links?

  • One way to get your link out there is to post on blogs.  Now don’t post your site just to be posting your site because a lot of times it won’t be approved.  Post your site if appropriate.  For instance if someone asks in their blog for people to suggest twitter tools in the comments section I might mention I just did a blog article about twitter tools that they might find interesting and insert a link to the specific blog I have in mind.
  • You can submit articles to websites that ask for content.  Ezine is a popular one.
  • Google and Bing have started putting people’s Twitter posts in the search results.  So be sure to use key words in your tweets that include your URL.
  • Submit your site to directories.  Go to google and enter ‘directory “pet supplies” submit’.  You’ll want to use your own term for a directory.  By entering the word submit many times I’m taken right to the page where either I need to submit or directions on how to submit to the particular directory.
  • Submitting an article to a Press Release directory.  Take a look at the current articles on the site before submitting so you get an idea of what other people are putting out there.  Make sure your article is professional and optimized for your keywords.
  • Providing great content on your site will have people wanting to link to you.  One place people may add your link is their blogs or Digg.  Digg is a place where people submit articles or content they find interesting throughtout the internet.  People also review articles and give their opinion of the content of articles, photos, or videos on the site.
  • If your content is good, you may even be a guest blogger on someone’s site.  If their blog is relavent to an article you may have ready to submit, follow that person and become a noticeable part of that person’s blog community.  Then ask if they would be willing to post one of your articles.
  • One method I use are link exchanges with sites similar to mine but not in direct competition with mine.  For instance, if a person sells dog dishes I won’t link to them.  If  they provide dog training advice I will link to them.  My customers would benefit from that site, but they aren’t going to leave my site buy something from that other site that I already carry.
  • AngelaS