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25
Jul

PayPal for BusinessThe easiest and quickest way is to set up a PayPal account.

First of all, let me dismiss any notions you might have about PayPal being a Mickey Mouse solution that’s not appropriate for serious on line business transactions. There are several, successful, internet marketers who make millions on line, and they use PayPal as their payment processor, so why not you, too? I use PayPal, too.

As a side note here: You may already have a merchant account to accept credit cards off line, but the same company you currently use may not be the best way to go for your on line transactions. Many off line merchant account providers are not familiar with online payments, so make sure you ask all the right questions first.

By all means, if you have a merchant account, talk to them first and see how they compare to PayPal.

Why I like PayPal – there are no monthly fees, so you only pay a processing fee per each transaction, only when you actually make a sale.

First of all, PayPay will provide you with secure payment processing technology so you can take credit cards, but also e-cheques, and money transfers from checking accounts.

Secondly, PayPal offers a shopping cart, with enough bells-and-whistles as you need to create those lovely “PAY NOW” buttons you can use either directly in your email promotions, but also on your web site.

Category : Boris Recommends | Email Marketing | Selling Online | Small Business Marketing | Web Site Development | Blog
30
Jun

Don’t copy what others are doing. Try to find your own style, your own voice. Again, you’re creating a relationship with your audience, and how can you do that if you’re copying someone else’s style?

The only way you can create that relationship is if you’re true to yourself, if you are who you are and you come across that way in everything you do, which includes your web site, your blog, your business card, and of course, your e-newsletter.

Category : Branding for Small Business | E-newsletter Publishing | Email Design | Email Marketing | Small Business Marketing | Web Site Development | Blog
30
May

 

WordPress for Dummies

The word “blog” itself comes from “web log”, so “blog” for short. Ever since Google acquired Blogger in 2003, this medium has been on the rise. Today even companies such as General Motors run blogs. Here are five reasons why you should have a blog for your small business or professional practice:

  • Blogging builds credibility. As you get more and more into writing about your experiences on a particular topic, your readers come to realize that they can depend on your posts to provide useful information. This will establish you as an expert; as a consequence, more readers visit your site and more bloggers link to your blogs.
  • Business_Guide-to-BloggingSearch engines love blogs. Because blog pages change very frequently, are content-rich, and easy to index, search engines just love to gobble them up. For example, if you noticed that your web site search engine rankings are slipping, this is most likely because the contents of your web site hasn’t changed in a long while. Search engines love fresh, new content, and by its nature, blogs are the epitome of freshness. To make the most of this, host your blog on your own domain, and use WordPress, or a similar blog system to run it.
  • Blogging is simple. The simplest way to get a presence on the web is through blogging. If you can type and click a mouse, you can blog. It’s like having a virtual piece of paper and you just write your ideas, experiences, describe new products, and hope that the truth behind your articles comes out and entice your reader to also try your product. No knowledge of HTML is necessary, but will certainly come in handy to get some of the more advanced features set up.
  • Blogging is authentic. In this day and age where advertising saturates our lives, we question the credibility of promoters’ claims. However, in blogs, real people share their real-life experiences, untainted by paid advertising. Reading blogs about first-hand product use is like talking to people about their first-hand experience.
  • Blogging costs nothing. You don’t need to have any software, buy web hosting, register a domain, like you do for your web site. Any opportunity get something for free is definitely a bonus, especially to businesses that are starting up. You can start blogging for free at WordPress.com, although, to get the most benefit from your blog I recommend hosting your own WordPress-based blog.
Category : Blogging for Business | Boris Recommends | Driving Traffic to Your site | Email List Building | On Line Networking | Search Engine Optimization | SEO for Article Writing | Small Business Marketing | Web Site Development | Blog
28
May

WordPress for DummiesDo you have a blog? A few days ago I started playing with WordPress for my blog. For weeks I’ve been trying to figure out which technology would be best, and have settled on WordPress for two main reasons:

  1. It allows me to create “static” pages, so I can have a site that looks like a regular web site, with menus such as “About,” “Products,” “Services,” and so on, and at the same time have a blog going.
    and,
  2. Second, I prefer to install the WP software on my own server, rather than use the hosted version of WP (i.e. WordPress.com) or other software, such as Blogger or TypePad, because it’s better for Search Engine Optimization. All the pages are sitting on my server/domain and are being indexed here, not at some blog hosting company.

Once word of advice, from my own experience: If you’re looking to save a few bucks and opt for a free blog, I wouldn’t recommend Blogger. Although it’s a good platform and all that, and being owned by Google can’t hurt these days, what I don’t like about it is the feature they have at the top of each blog, which is a link to “Next blog”: a few times I tried clicking it I ended up on blogs that I wouldn’t want my kids to see, if you know what I mean.

If you have a web site, consider re-doing it using WordPress, then you can enjoy the best of both worlds – and Google and other search engines will just love it so much more!

 

Category : Blogging for Business | Boris Recommends | Driving Traffic to Your site | Email List Building | Search Engine Optimization | Small Business Marketing | Web Site Development | Blog
10
Apr

I just wanted to post a quick note about a new development at Aweber, one of the most respected Email Service Providers, and one of the 4 that I highly recommend to my clients.

Aweber recently introduced a new style of hover pop ups that may be just the ticket for you. Take a look at their blog and see how powerful the new feature is.

If you’re not using Aweber yet they have a 30-day trial period, so you can take it for a spin.

If you already use a different Email Service Provider, you can still create your own popups for your web site or blog with this stand-alone Windows application. For the ultimate selection, tracking options, graphics and more in using floating, unlockable popups subscribe to AdImpact

Category : Boris Recommends | Email List Building | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Web Site Development | Blog
2
Apr

Some years ago personal development guru Mark Victor Hansen said “Your net-work determines your net-worth.” You’ve probably also heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” and that’s actually better said “it’s who knows you.”

In the previous issue of Contacts2Clients, I mentioned some online networking sites and how to use them to build your business. It sparked a number of inquires from subscribers of this newsletter, but also from clients and colleagues.

Although I created my LinkedIn profile years ago, I’ve never actually used it until recently. Within about a month my network is now over 1.5 million strong – yes, that’s six figures, baby. And all that from only 60 or so connections.

Mind you, the point is not to have a large number of contacts, but to participate. Be active. If you just put up a profile, but never participate, it’s like having a blog to which you never post.

Some people say you should be active on 25 different networks. I don’t think that’s realistic, unless you delegate the work to a virtual assistant, but you should pick at least 3 that you will visit fairly regularly and make an effort to participate.
View Boris Mahovac's profile on LinkedIn

Category : Business Networking | Driving Traffic to Your site | On Line Networking | Small Business Marketing | Social Media Marketing | Web Site Development | Blog
20
Mar

Applying these simple SEO strategies will do wonders for your organic search engine results.

3. Write a meaningful description for each page

This goes under the tag. For this you have about 25 words, or 160 characters. Write this paragraph of 2-3 sentences so that it sounds like aclassified ad for the page. Each page should have its own unique meta tag description, relevant to the content of the page, using relevant keywords people are likely to use to find you.

4. Compile a list of keywords for each page

This goes under the tag. Some experts say that you should keep the keyword meta tag under 1,000 characters, some say 256. I’d suggest keep it as short as possible but make sure you cover everything you need. Make sure you pick the keywords that are relevant to the page and to the overall site content. Try to make the first 10 keywords your strongest ones. By the way, by “keywords” I mean single words and phrases, such as “ezine design” and “e-newsletter production services.”

5. Use relevant keywords when you write copy for your pages.

Don’t stuff your page with keywords, search engines will penalize you for it, and secondly, and more importantly, the humans reading your pages would most likely see through your tactic and abandon the page as quickly as you can say SEO.

One final thought: don’t fall for the idea to have your web site submitted to hundreds of search engines by some automated process. Simply go to Google, Yahoo and MSN and submit your web site’s home page only manually, it won’t take you more than a few minutes.

As a matter of fact, if you’ve done your basic SEO homework, you don’t even need to submit your site, the search engine spiders will find it and index it properly.

Please also read Basic SEO: 5 Free Do-it-yourself Strategies, part 1

Category : Driving Traffic to Your site | Search Engine Optimization | Web Site Development | Blog
18
Mar

Many small business web site owners make a mistake of not paying attention to basicSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) of their web pages. This usually happens because of two reasons: one, they create the web site themselves and have no idea about what SEO is and why they should pay attention to it, or two, they hired a “trusted, knowledgeable web designer” to design their site, and s/he has not included SEO in the project proposal.

For sure, you could make SEO an art, but following a few basic steps – accessible to anyone – will go a long way. By all means, if your budget allows you to pay for a professionally devised and managed SEO strategy, do it.

However, for a solo professionalsmall business owner or a non-profit organization on a limited budget, applying these simple SEO strategies will do wonders for your organic search engine results.

1. Each page should have a descriptive file name

In other words don’t name the files just services.html, or even worse page02.html, but try something like email-marketing-services-consulting.html. This will help the search engines index your pages more thoroughly if you use keywords that are relevant to the content of that page.

2. Give each page a unique title.

This goes under the <meta title> tag. You have about 60 characters, or about 10 words, whichever is less in your particular case. The page title is like a summary of the content. Again use the relevant keywords, or you can make it a call to action, for example a “Contact Us” page could have this title: Receive a free email marketing consultation – Call 905-844-4247 now!

Read this post for 3 more tips on basic search engine optimization for small business.

Category : Driving Traffic to Your site | Search Engine Optimization | Web Site Development | Blog
25
Oct

The easiest way to manage an affiliate program is to use shopping cart softwarethat also has the affiliate module available, either as an add-on feature, or it is included in the basic package.

The system I use is 1ShoppingCart (you may have heard of it under a different name, such as KickStartCart). This is a well-known and respected shopping cart system that is used by the majority of Internet marketers I’ve come across. Apart from the affiliate module and cart features, it also allows you to set up ad trackersauto-responders and ezines.

It allows you to create an affiliate program, have a web page where people can sign up, then the systems gives each affiliate his or her own link code for each product or service that you offer, and tracks visitors, sign ups, and purchases made that came from those links, for a period of time that you define.

In other words, if one of your affiliates sends you a visitor that signs up for your free ezine today, but makes a purchase a year from now, your affiliate partner will still get his/her commission.

Alternatively, if you’re technically inclined, you may choose a stand-alone script, orsoftware that you install on your own server to manage your affiliate program. I’ve never personally used any of these programs myself, so I can’t recommend any one in particular, but I do know that there’s one important advantage to having your own affiliate script installed, and it has to do with search engine optimization.

You see, if you’re using 1ShoppingCart, or a similar solution for managing your affiliate program, when your affiliates promote your products the links are always going to look like this: http://www.on2url.com/app/adtrack.asp?MerchantID=94277&AdID=333732

However, if you run your own script, however, you can set it up that those links actually point to your web site, such as this http://YourWebSite.com/affid?2847

Why is this important? Well, from the point of view of search engine optimization, it’s better for you to have pages around the web have a link back to your site. However, if the majority of your affiliate partners are going to be using email to promote your products then this won’t matter.

To find about these alternative software solutions, simply Google “affiliate program software”, or, if you’re part of an affiliate program that uses one of these scripts, and you like its features, log in to your account and look at the bottom of the page. That’s where you can usually find a link to the person or company that created it.

Category : Affiliate Marketing | Driving Traffic to Your site | SEO for Affiliate Marketing | Small Business Marketing | Tracking and Split Testing | Web Site Development | Blog
28
Aug

Q: Adam from Manchester, U.K., sent in this note:

“I am having a hard time figuring out how to deal with a high percentage of people who come to my web site, signup for my e-zine but never confirm their email address. Sometimes this is as high as 60% of total subscribers. Since I am using the recommended double opt-in process, I don’t know what I can do to have most of my subscribers confirm their address.”

A: Actually, Adam is not alone in this. I have received messages from several subscribers that are experiencing the same problem.

Let’s first examine why this is happening. When I visited Adam’s web site, and subscribed to his e-zine I noticed that after clicking the submit button, I was taken to a generic web page, provided by his Email Service Provider (ESP). The page simply said “Thank you for subscribing to .”

This is a big mistake, but it’s easy to fix. If you are using AWeber, 1ShoppingCart, or GetResponse, you are in luck, because all three ESPs provide an option you can use to redirect users to a custom “thank you” page that you set up on your own web site.

This custom page should advise your subscribers that there is an additional step they need to complete in order to finalize the double opt-in sign-up process.

On this page you explain that you have just sent them a confirmation email. You can also provide additional tips and suggestions on how to add your email address to their address books, etc.

But, why is this extra step, this extra information needed? Why does it make a difference? Well, it’s actually very simple: many of the confirmation messages end up in your subscribers’ spam folders, so they never see it, never open it, and therefore never confirm their request for information from you.

One e-zine publisher was losing 95% of sign ups, before hiring me! Without changing anything else on the e-zine or her web site, simply using the custom “thank you” page brought down the number of unconfirmed emails to only 1%.

Some failed sign ups are to be expected, though, because people change their minds, or for whatever reason decide to cancel their subscription request. If you attain 100% confirms, let me know your secret, OK?

Category : E-newsletter Publishing | Email Delivery Best Practices | Email List Building | Email Marketing | Email Service Providers | Small Business Marketing | Web Site Development | Blog