Serving Your Family

When someone begins a family, they start to learn a lot about themselves and the world. Being a good family member requires absolute selflessness as you put the needs of your children and spouse ahead of your own. It is a painful transition for many, as evidenced by divorce rates, depression rates, and bolts in the night. But if you truly want the best for your family, you will learn to put your own needs to the side. There are many different ways that you can selflessly serve your family, and you should try to excel in all of them. When your kids grow up to be successful and healthy individuals, you will know that all of your effort was worth it.

First of all you need to recognize the idealistic differences between you and your spouse. Do you feel the need to have everything extremely clean all of the time while your spouse doesn’t mind living in a pigsty?  That is fine. It may cause some of the trouble in your marriage, but you will eventually learn to deal with it. The best way to do it is to clean things up on your own, without grumbling or pointing out the faults of your spouse. If he or she mentions it, just say something along the lines of “oh, I just prefer it like this, don’t worry about it”. This kind of reaction from you will hopefully get your spouse to start keeping things tidy, the way you like them. If not, just continue to do it yourself without being bitter about it.

Next you need to give your spouse and your children the time that they deserve. It is easy for a working adult to get caught up in a cycle of working and relaxing, without setting aside time for persistent family time. Eat dinner with your family and force interactions, even if you are not feeling up to it. Sometimes it takes a lot of willpower to forget the stresses of work and to simply enjoy the presence of your kids. But once you get used to doing it, you will start to enjoy it more and more and your kids will certainly be better off since you are interactive and involved.

You should also try to create a good attitude in your children. Teach them your own ideals. If you selflessly clean up after your spouse, teach your children that this is the way to maintain a good relationship. Teach them that sacrifice is important. By spending this time and effort to cultivate the personalities of your children, you are improving their futures and most likely creating a smoother family life for the short term. There are no ways that a good personality can create family problems, so do your best to teach your children to be agreeable and pleasant.

It can be hard to focus on all of the different points of family life at the same time. But just take things one day at a time, and one step at a time. Starting today, spend a few hours with your family, chatting and getting to know each other better. When you grow old and you look back on your memories with your family, you will be full of pleasant memories and you will have no regrets.

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SEO, HTML and Meta Tag Marketing

The methods employed to increase your search engine rankings may seem like rocket science to you, so you have probably avoided dealing with this issue. I am here to tell you – the time has come to face your website!  A high search engine ranking for your website is so essential that if you have the slightest desire to actually succeed in your business, there is no way you can continue to avoid this issue.

At least 85% of people looking for goods and services on the Internet find websites through search engines such as Google, Bing, Ask and Yahoo.  The idea of optimizing your pages for high search engine rankings is to attract targeted customers to your site who will be more than likely to make a purchase.  The higher your page comes up in search engine results, the greater the traffic that is directed to your website.  That’s what search engine optimization is about.  You can immerse yourself in all the technical information available online to figure out how to optimize your web pages to achieve higher rankings.  Or you can look at a few simple items on your pages, make some small adjustments, and most likely see improved rankings quite rapidly.  The first item you should examine is the title bar on your homepage.  The title bar is the colored bar at the top of the page.  Look at the words that appear there when you access your home page.  To increase search engine rankings, the words on your homepage’s title bar should include the most important keywords or phrases, one of which would include your company name.

Then click on all your links and examine the title bars on the pages you access. Each title bar on every single page of your site should contain the most important keywords and phrases taken from the page itself.  However, avoid very long strings of keywords, keeping them to six words or less. Avoid repeating keywords more than once in the title bars, and make sure that identical words are not next to each other.

The next item to put under your microscope is your website content.  Search engines generally list sites that contain quality content rather than scintillating graphics.  The text on your site must contain the most important keywords – the words that potential customers will be typing into search engines to find your site.  Aim to have around 250 words on each page, but if this is not desirable due to your design, aim for at least 100 carefully chosen words.  If you want to achieve a high ranking on search engines, this text is essential.  However, the search engines must be able to read the text, meaning that the text must be in HTML and not graphic format.  To find out if your text is in HTML format, take your cursor and try to highlight a word or two.  If you are able to do this, the text is HTML.  If the text will not highlight, it is probably in graphic form.  In this case, ask your webmaster to change the text into HTML format in order to increase your search engine rankings.

Next we come to what is called meta tags. I know this seems like something out of science fiction, but it is really just simple code. Many people believe that meta tags are the key to high search engine rankings, but in reality, they only have a limited effect.  Still, it’s worth adding them in the event that a search engine will use meta tags in their ranking formula.  To find out if your page is set up with meta tags, you must access the code. To do this, click the “view” button on the browser menu bar, and select “source.” This will pull up a window revealing the underlying code that created the page.  If there are meta tags, they usually appear near the top of the window.  For example, a meta tag would read: meta content=.  If you do not find code that reads like this, ask your webmaster to put them in.  This may not do much for your search engine rankings, but any little boost helps. 

Lastly, we come to the issue of link popularity. This is a factor that is extremely important in terms of search engine rankings.  Almost all search engines use link popularity to rank your website. Link popularity is based on the quality of the sites you have linked to from your links page.  If you type in “free link popularity check” in a popular search engine, the search engine will then show you what sites are linked to your site.  In the case that there aren’t many sites linked up to yours, or that the sites that are linked up have low search engine rankings, consider launching a link popularity campaign. Essentially, this entails contacting quality sites and requesting that they exchange links with your site.  Of course, this requires checking out the rankings of the websites you want to link up with.  Linking to popular, quality sites not only boosts your search engine ranking, but it also directs more quality traffic to your website.  Search engine rankings are extremely important for a successful Internet marketing campaign. Before you go out and hire a search engine optimization company, try taking some of the simple steps listed above, and see if you can’t boost your rankings yourself.  Don’t ever ignore this all-important factor in Internet marketing.  Remember, the higher your search engine ranking, the more quality customers will be directed your way.

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The Search Engine A List

Search engines are the first stop for people that search for goods or services on the internet.  Your website needs to appears early in search results.  If your website is not on the A list, the consumer may never find you.  Your first goal is to get on the A list.  Once you achieve your place on the list, you will have a high search engine position.  Next, it is essential that you make sure you maintain the high ranking you have worked so hard to achieve.  This means you must come up with a strategy to monitor your search engines positions. This strategy is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign. Think of your search engine positions as your online portfolio. Would you let your stock portfolio be ruled by chance and market fluctuations, or would you keep close tabs on your stocks so you could buy and sell when the time is right?  This is the way you must consider your search engines positions.  Be aware that at first, after you have launched your search engine campaign and done all the right things to increase your rankings, you will most likely see a continual upward climb. What you need to be on the lookout for is the moment that upward climb reaches a plateau. When this happens, your search engine position campaign moves into stage two, the monitoring and protecting stage.  In stage two, do not be concerned about the short-term fluctuations in your positions.  These are similar to the subtle rising and falling of stocks in a portfolio.  Short-term movement is an integral part of the whole process. It’s the long-term changes that you must watch for and prepare to act on immediately.  Analyzing the long-term trends of search engines positions is imperative.  The way in which search engines rank websites may change at the drop of hat.  If you are unaware of these changes – many of which are subtle yet can be deadly to your ranking – your position may drop to the bottom of the list before you can get your bearings.  To prevent this kind of precipitous drop, you must create a system to monitor your positions on a monthly basis.  Devise a chart to keep tabs on your top ranking positions or your top pages, and make sure to watch “the market” closely.  Each search engine uses a formula to compute website rankings.  When a search engine changes this formula in any way, it may raise or lower your ranking.  Some search engines use a number of different formulas, rotating them so that a formula doesn’t become overused or outdated.  Depending on which formula is being applied, your search engine position may suddenly drop or rise in rank significantly. Therefore, you must check your positions frequently in order to catch when a search engine changes formulas and what effect it has on your positions.  You must also deal with your competition – a crucial factor you must always be vigilant about. Your competitor’s position may suddenly rise, automatically lowering your position.  Or their position may drop, pushing your position higher.  Each month, expect position changes due to the continual changes that are occurring in your competitor’s position, and be prepared to adjust your marketing strategy to compensate for decreased rankings.  Monitoring these fluctuations will also give you vital information about how to improve your website to increase your position in search results.  Of course, you must discern what the most popular search engines are in order for your monitoring efforts to be
effective.  Right now, there are ten popular search engines that direct most of Internet traffic to your sites.  The challenge you face is that these top ten may change from month to month.  This means that your must not only monitor your search engine positions, but you must also keep track of the ranking popularity of the search engines you are monitoring. Find out which search engines people use most frequently every month and be sure to live in the present!  People are fickle about their favorite search engines, and it takes constant vigilance to follow their dalliances. The search engines they loved when you first launched your campaign may be old news in the next few months.  You must adjust your list of engines according to the whims of the Internet users.  Check out search engine monitoring websites for current stats.  Another factor to monitor carefully is a sudden drop of your positions in all search engines. This is not the same as monthly fluctuations – this is a neon red warning sign!  It could mean a number of different things.  It all your search engine positions have plummeted, it may indicate that search engines spiders – those sneaky programs that seek out your site and rank their positions – have found some type of problem with your website.  If you have recently changed the code, for instance, the spider may become utterly confused and consequently drop your positions disastrously.  If a spider creeps up on your website when it is down for adjustments or changes, you may actually disappear from a search engine index entirely.  Or a search engine may drastically change its formula, and suddenly your entire website comes up as irrelevant.  If that search engine is a current favorite, it may create a domino effect, causing all of your position to drop in all search engines.  Some search engines rely on the results from other search engines, and it is vital that you know which engines these are and keep track of all the engines they influence.  The biggest problem here is that search engines will sometimes change affiliations, and this can create a major shift in the geography of the Internet.  You must not only monitor your own positions, but you must keep abreast of seismic shifts in the landscape of the Internet as a whole.

Finally, pay attention to your keywords.  Keywords are the foundation bricks of the entire search engine system, and they demand individual scrutiny in your monitoring efforts.  If you have found that a number of your positions have plummeted, it may mean that a page of your website has become invisible or inaccessible to search engine spiders.  Or the competition for that particular keyword or phrase has recently rocketed into outer space.  In either case, you must act quickly and efficiently to regain lost ground.  Your search engine marketing campaign is an investment.  If costs you time and money on a continual basis.  Protect this investment as diligently as you would your financial portfolio.  In the same way, track your positions from an objective perspective, and monitor your positions on a regular basis.  Make sure your time and effort reap rewards by keeping your eye on the big picture – your long-term marketing campaign.

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The Key to Keywords

Search engines are important, because they lead potential customers to your website, but in order for visitors to reach their destination – your website – you need to provide them with specific and effective signs that will direct them right to your site. You do this by creating carefully chosen keywords.

 Think of the right keywords as the Open Sesame! of the Internet. Find the exactly right words or phrases, and presto! hoards of traffic will be pulling up to your front door.   If your keywords are too general or too over-used, the possibility of visitors actually making it all the way to your site – or of seeing any real profits from the visitors that do arrive – decreases dramatically. 

Your keywords serve as the foundation of your marketing strategy.  If they are not chosen with great precision, no matter how aggressive your marketing campaign may be, the right people may never get the chance to find out about it.  So your first step in plotting your strategy is to gather and evaluate keywords and phrases.

You probably think you already know EXACTLY the right words for your search phrases. Unfortunately, if you haven’t followed certain specific steps, you are probably WRONG.  It’s hard to be objective when you are right in the center of your business network, which is the reason that you may not be able to choose the most efficient keywords from the inside. You need to be able to think like your customers.  Since you are a business owner and not the consumer, your best bet is to go directly to the source.

Instead of plunging in and scribbling down a list of potential search words and phrases yourself, ask for words from as many potential customers as you can. You will most likely find out that your understanding of your business and your customers’ understanding is significantly different.  The consumer is an invaluable resource. You will find the words you accumulate from them are words and phrases you probably never would have considered from deep inside the trenches of your business.

Only after you have gathered as many words and phrases from outside resources should you add your own keyword to the list. Once you have this list in hand, you are ready for the next step: evaluation.

The aim of evaluation is to narrow down your list to a small number of words and phrases that will direct the highest number of quality visitors to your website. By “quality visitors” I mean those consumers who are most likely to make a purchase rather than just cruise around your site and take off for greener pastures. In evaluating the effectiveness of keywords, bear in mind three elements: popularity, specificity, and motivation.   

Popularity is the easiest to evaluate because it is an objective quality. The more popular your keyword is, the more likely the chances are that it will be typed into a search engine which will then bring up your URL.

You can now purchase software that will rate the popularity of keywords and phrases by giving words a number rating based on real search engine activity. Software such as WordTracker will even suggest variations of your words and phrases. The higher the number this software assigns to a given keyword, the more traffic you can logically expect to be directed to your site. The only fallacy with this concept is the more popular the keyword is, the greater the search engine position you will need to obtain. If you are down at the bottom of the search results, the consumer will probably never scroll down to find you.

Popularity isn’t enough to declare a keyword a good choice. You must move on to the next criteria, which is to be specific.  Specific keywords provide a better opportunity for a consumer to find you when they are ready to purchase your goods or services.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example. Imagine that you have obtained popularity rankings for the keyword “automobile companies.” However, you company specializes in bodywork only. The keyword “automobile body shops” would rank lower on the popularity scale than “automobile companies,” but it would nevertheless serve you much better. Instead of getting a slew of people interested in everything from buying a car to changing their oil filters, you will get only those consumers with trashed front ends or crumpled fenders being directed to your site. In other words, consumers ready to buy your services are the ones who will immediately find you. Not only that, but the greater the specificity of your keyword is, the less competition you will face. 

The third factor is consumer motivation. Once again, this requires putting yourself inside the mind of the customer rather than the seller to figure out what motivation prompts a person looking for a service or product to type in a particular word or phrase. Let’s look at another example, such as a consumer who is searching for a job as an IT manager in a new city. If you have to choose between “Seattle job listings” and “Seattle IT recruiters” which do you think will benefit the consumer more? If you were looking for this type of specific job, which keyword would you type in? The second one, of course! Using the second keyword targets people who have decided on their career, have the necessary experience, and are ready to enlist you as their recruiter, rather than someone just out of school who is casually trying to figure out what to do with his or her life in between beer parties. You want to find people who are ready to act or make a purchase, and this requires subtle tinkering of your keywords until your find the most specific and directly targeted phrases to bring the most motivated traffic to you site. 

Once you have chosen your keywords, your work is not done.  You must continually evaluate performance across a variety of search engines, bearing in mind that times and trends change, as does popular lingo. You cannot rely on your log traffic analysis alone because it will not tell you how many of your visitors actually made a purchase.  

Luckily, some new tools have been invented to help you judge the effectiveness of your keywords in individual search engines. There is now software available that analyzes consumer behavior in relation to consumer traffic.  This allows you to discern which keywords are bringing you the most valuable customers.  This is an essential concept: numbers alone do not make a good keyword; profits per visitor do. You need to find keywords that direct consumers to your site who actually buy your product, fill out your forms, or download your product. This is the most important factor in evaluating the efficacy of a keyword or phrase, and should be the sword you wield when discarding and replacing ineffective or inefficient keywords with keywords that bring in better profits.

Ongoing analysis of tested keywords is the formula for search engine success. This may sound like a lot of work and it is! But the amount of informed effort you put into your keyword campaign is what will ultimately generate your business’ rewards.

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Website Success

If you are ready to market your business on the World Wide Web, then setting up a website is the very first step of an internet marketing campaign.  The success or failure of your site depends greatly on how specifically you have defined your website goals. If you don’t know what you want your site to accomplish, it will most likely fail to accomplish anything. Without goals to guide you in developing and monitoring your website, all your site will be is an online announcement that you are in business.

If you expect your site to stimulate some form of action there are steps you can take to insure that your website is functioning at peak efficiency. One of the first indicators of how well your site is working for you is finding out the number of visitors in a given period of time. A good baseline measurement is a month in which you haven’t been doing any unusual offline promotional activities.

However, just because people have passed through your website does not mean your site is successful. Usually, you want those visitors to actually do something there. It is equally important to monitor the number of visitors to your site who made a purchase. This figure is called the site conversion rate, and it is an essential element of the efficacy of your website.  To find the site conversion rate, take the number of visitors per month and figure out the percentage of them that actually performed the action your site is set up for.  To get this figure, take your number of visitors and divide that figure by the number of visitors who made a purchase.

If the goal of your website is to get visitor contact information, then figure out what the difference between your site conversion rate and your sales conversion rate.  This is because not everyone who fills out your form will actually become your customer. However, whether your site is set-up to sell a service or product, or to get the visitor to fill out a form, the site conversion rate will measure the success or failure of your website whenever you make changes to the site.

Also implement additional marketing strategies to promote your site.  Additional marketing could include social networking websites, affiliate programs, advertisement and search engine optimization (SEO).  A successful SEO campaign will increase your position in search engine results so that consumers can find your pages faster and easier.  After your have improved your search engine positions, make sure you keep monitoring and adjusting of your efforts to maintain high positions.

Another factor to examine is how easy it is for a visitor to your website to accomplish the action the site is set-up for.  If it’s too difficult to get to, the customer will move on to another site.  Your buttons need to be visible, and the path to your form or ordering page quickly accessible.

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