Small Website Marketing And SEO Strategy

Hello everyone. My name is Laura Anies (view Google+ profile), and I’m a small business owner myself. I’m a professional internet marketer, as well as a fashion and beauty buff, and I run 2 popular UK-based sites that are focused mainly on product reviews.

I will try to lay out strategies and tactics that are actually applicable for small, one man operations. Most online guides won’t give you that, so stay tuned :)

This is going to be a long guide, and all of it will appear in a single page, so I advise you to use the on-page navigation menu below, and/or make a printed copy of it. Whatever you do, please make sure to give to WBTutorial.Com.
* If you want to read this review and tutorial as a PDF file, you can download it HERE.

Table of Contents

Small websites marketing and SEO strategy

Set of mind & How to find your niche
Why should your website be any different from what others are doing?
So, how do you do this the right way
Think of the theme of your site
Think of a marketing strategy
Think of the competition in the niche

Starting off: Product

Envision how you want the products to look like
Applying SEO – Start with Keyword research
Plan the site hierarchy
Execution of product
Execution of product – SEO

Next stage – Marketing

Summary

Note: this guide covers a variety of topics, each one of them deserves a whole page, section or even a book to master. I’ve chosen to give you an overview for beginners. If you want to increase your knowledge on the topic, please refer to the different sites that I’ve included as resources.

Set of mind & How to find your niche

I’m a firm believer in the concept that everything starts in a set of mind. As Mr. Avinash Kaushik, one of the world’s most famous and successful internet marketers, says:
[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Most people focus on the do, when they should focus on the see and think“[/quote]

(Loosely rephrased from his latest MozCon lecture)
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What does he mean? He means that UNLIKE in the “real world” of land-based businesses, internet marketers and entrepreneurs focus on immediate make-money streams instead of creating products which aid their potential consumers.

Most of the internet is absolute junk. It is composed of people who heard there’s money to be made online, and decided to step in and apply low-quality SEO techniques on a site that provides no value.

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>Why should your website be any different from what others are doing?

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There’s a simple answer to that. The answer is that the online world is changing:
  • Consumers are not buying if trust isn’t established (reference). If your site, or product for that matter, isn’t top-notch, there’s very little chance the wishful trust will be established.
  • Search engines (re: Google) now scrutinize the quality of your site in many aspects. There were several quality-ensuring tweaks within the algorithm to prevent low-quality sites from ranking. The main one is the Panda update (read more), and there were other smaller ones like the page layout update.
  • Search engines (again, re: Google) are much more efficient against sites trying to game their algorithm. Penguin updates (view full list here) analyzed at many forms of artificial backlinks, and penalized sites that are applying aggressive SEO techniques. Links that are truly affective for the long term, and aren’t putting your site at risk, are links that you have received as a genuine positive reference.
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So, how do you do this the right way

So, how do you do this the right way, considering you have a small newish website with a limited marketing budget?

When you change your set of mind, you start thinking outside the box. Until now, if your business was solely internet-based, you thought of ways to game Google and prove them that your site has superior qualities over other sites in the same niche.


How about thinking like a REAL business owner would? Wil Reynolds from SEER interactive coined a phrase named RCS – Real Company Stuff (read more). It basically says that you if you want to be regarded as an authoritative resource by Google and users, you should do things big serious company do, but on a lower scale.

When REAL business owners want to start a business, they start off by thinking about the product. Up until now when you wanted to start a website you’d do it by performing a keyword research. Are you still doing that? That is SO 2008 :) .

Think of the theme of your site

Is it something you can provide an added value in? Either because you’re an expert on the topic, you have someone who is an expert on the topic, you can think of better UX than other sites, you have better products or cheaper products, or there something innovative others aren’t offering.

Think of a marketing strategy

A good marketing strategy is one that leverages your product rather than being independent of it. Do you know these catchy commercials that stick into your brain and won’t let go, but you don’t really recall what they advertise? This is what I’m talking about. If you get your name heard in the wrong places, or your site linked to from the wrong places – you are both doomed for an unsuccessful marketing campaign, as well as an unsuccessful SEO campaign.

When the marketing / SEO aspects COMES from within your product – targeting the real target audience, and sharing content which is worth sharing, the whole process becomes much easier. You don’t have to be an SEO expert and calculate the location, placement and anchor of your links – you can present your site and let other site owners decide this for you. When links are constructed as a result of an outreach campaign, they are risk-free, and tend to be more powerful than links supplied by solicitation requests.

Think of the competition in the niche

Think of your competitors’ budgets and reputation. Are you able to cope with them? You don’t necessarily need to spend as much money as the guy next to you, but realistically you won’t establish a new company form the ground up with 10% of the funding of your competitors. 50% is somewhat realistic if you think they overspent, but 10% of your competitors’ budget, will almost never end in you surpassing them. Aiming for being the second or third best thing around, ’cause there are sites you cannot be a match to, is the line of thinking a loser would stick to.

Smaller businesses think SUB NICHE. Did you consider opening your running shoes store, and sticking it to all the big stores? Think again. When you come up with a sub-niche you are also getting closer to finding your USP (Unique Selling Point).
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Sub-niche is also the window to SEO success. In a world of titans who have reputation and funding that you cannot replicate, there’s still some room for the little guys. Google has a lot of respect for sites that are extremely comprehensive and are niche leaders. These are the type of sites that have gained more and more visibility over the course of the past years. These are the type of sites that rank for heavy generic keywords like “marketing”, “SEO”, “running shoes” or even compose about 80% of the front page results for a term like Indonesian chicken curry.

Let’s focus on that Indonesian example for moment. Search results are volatile, and I cannot predict what this query will yield in the future, but I’m guessing that at any point in time you’ll be searching, that 20 percent portion of the search results which isn’t composed of big well-known websites will include niche leaders for Asian cooking.

It is impossible (or close to it), to create a site that will cover different types of dishes from all around the world in a better way than food.com or about.com, as I mentioned before. Yet, it is much more up the alley of a small-time entrepreneur to create a niche site for Asian foods, or better yet Indonesian food. The DEPTH of the sub-niche will depend on how much you would be willing to invest upon the establishment of the site.  If you are on a really tight budget, and your aim is to rank, you can also launch a site dedicated specifically for Indonesian Chicken recopies. It’s all up to you.

When you think of a niche you need to start thinking monetization. That is, of course, if you want to make money out of your website, rather than make a hobby site. There are countless ways to monetize your website (here are 24 of them) and you need to find where the business center in what you do is.

Incorporating the business aspect should help you focus, and moreover help you formulate a business plan, which should match with your product and marketing plans.  It might be a good time for you to discover that the ROI of your project isn’t what you anticipated it to be.

Starting off: Product

As I have explicitly mentioned in the previous section of this guide, the key to good marketing is a good product. This should be your starting point rather than your SEO strategy. I will go over mostly technical things here, but make sure you read previous section to ensure you have the right set of mind.

After we have a niche in mind, we will dive into preliminary market research.
-          See what the target audience likes, wants and needs. Interview people who are relevant for this research, find online contacts who can give a hand, read surveys, dive into forums, start reading relevant blogs and do whatever is in your power to understand your demographic.
-          See what other sites that are popular and well-ranked in Google offer. This can give you an idea of what should you cover, and what can you do better than them.
-          See how much money can you make – choose your way of monetization, and see how lucrative your target audience is to advertisers. The Google adwords (http://www.google.com/adwords/) tool can give you initial insights, but also look for NICHE-specific advertising to maximize your profits. If you’re into baby diapers for example, search for baby diapers advertising, baby diapers affiliate programs and so on.

Envision how you want the products to look like

Before you move into the technical stages of keywords research and content creation, SEO-friendly structure or marketing, you have to stick to #RCS. A big part of RCS is putting different types of effort into your product – the type real companies would do when they launch their product.

Make a list of the articles you want in your site, what is the hierarchy between them (which ones are ought to become more popular), and how the website would look.

You can make a preliminary sketch with things like MS-Word, MS-Paint, or more professional tools that are actually mock up software (Smash magazine lists  a bunch of them here – http://mashable.com/2012/06/07/mockup-tools/).

Applying SEO – Start with Keyword research

Keyword research is not only made to discover which keywords should appear in your website to attract traffic, not at all. By understanding which queries users are using to find the information, you can also understand what type of information you should provide.

Use tools like Google keyword tool, Google suggest, Google trends, Yoast.com/suggest/, and type in as many related keywords as you find (if you started off doing the stages properly you must have an idea of the needs and wants of your audience by now).

Go to competitors’ site and identify their keywords by listing their articles, looking through their meta keywords & meta title fields and seeing which keywords have most focus and son.

The next part is just to take the vision and adjust it accordingly:
-          Incorporate a main keyword and secondary keywords target for each field.
-          Use keywords that don’t match your content help you discover more areas of what to write about.
-          Understand search volumes for each intent (group of keywords) and understand what your potential visitors want to see MOST (this will dictate your hierarchy and design later on).

Plan a site hierarchy

The site’s hierarchy is the way your website is built. Which content appears on the homepage, how does the navigation looks, what type of elements will you have on the center of the page, which elements will you have on your sidebar, and how the user funnel would look like.

This is very site specific and design specific, but the main idea is to take the intents/pages that you have identified in your research, and make sure it’s easily accessible. Take other content which is not as important, and include it in the site in a way it would be accessible to whomever want to access it.

Here’s an example showing how a page is structured, there are many possible pages to proceed to, but the ones with higher popularity are more highlighted.

The shit starts off with a navigation menu that includes some of the most popular continuation-pages for the users entering this page, but more highlighted than everything is the recommended action for the user (BUY NOW or TRY FOR FREE, kind of thing).

In the less visible parts of the page, below the fold (read this interesting debate about i http://ogrshows.com/shows/podcasts/uxthis-podcasts/547), you have to link to more pages that can be interesting for both the users, and search engines (relevant pages that can get the power of the linking page and its relevancy).

Here’s a basic layout of a page: (pardon the quality – click to enlarge it):
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You have to apply the same type of sense to your overall site structure.
-          Popular pages are easy to find and navigate to (in most cases linked throughout the site and not from a specific section).
-          It’s easy to understand what is the main thing you should do in each page
-          All pages in the site could be found within 2 click away from homepage
-          Relevant internal links from each page (for example, if you have a “Burgers page” you should link to you “McDonald’s critique” page, but not so much to your “Children’s book” page).

Execution of product

After you have an idea of the different building blocks of the site, how to place them, and what do you want written there, it’s the time to convey your ideas and turn your dream into reality.

The best way your product will look, is the way you want it, is if you build it from the ground up. This requires a very wide set of skills, design/UX, programming/advanced webmaster skills and content writing skills. Most people are good at either one of the three, while some are just strong with the business and administrative skills and cannot perform either task.
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I don’t feel this is the place to tell you where and how to recruit these people, but as part of REAL COMPANY STUFF approach, it is advised you’d find the person perfectly fit for this work and not “a person who can design/program/write”.

When you work with either one of these it’s important to be as detailed as possible with your requests. Even if you cannot design, you can make a preliminary mock-up, if you cannot write you can write pointers of things to include in the text, if you cannot program make some research on the platform you’d like to use. For beginners it’s easiest to use one of the all-in-one website builder as suggested in the homepage of this site, like Webs, Weebly or Wix.

As any business owners realized – unless you are the pushing force behind your business, the business will collapse. Don’t put your trust in a stranger’s hand assuming “this guy knows how to work since he did THIS or THAT in the past”.

Execution of product – SEO

After the content is written in a user-friendly way, and the site is structured like that, there is not much to do on the on-page SEO. Upload the pages making sure the URLs fit the purpose of the page (short and to the point), upload meta title that describe what can be found in the page (in an attractive way), upload meta descriptions that provide even more information.

Don’t use old school SEO tricks like keyword stuffing, and don’t be over optimized (repeat the main intent of the page more than once in meta title, create H1 for the page which is similar to the meta title) – just go with the flow and make sure that the main keywords of the page are included in it.

Next stage – Marketing

You’d be relieved to know that even though this is the main theme of the article, by following the previous steps you are already 99% there.
If you followed my advice, by now you should have a:
-          High quality product with a unique selling point.
-          Well structured site which is easy to use.
-          Content that covers all the important aspects needed to be covered.

This is the type of sites both search engines and users love, so you are expected:
  1. To rank better without the need for as many links as your competitors who apply low quality techniques.
  2. Rank easily on a variety of longtails – the more unique your content is and the more topics it deals with that other don’t – it’ll “find its way”. Longtails compose more than 70% of the internet searches, so that alone can give you most of the traffic you were aiming for.
  3. Becomes easily shared (socially) and linked to, without any special efforts.
Even considering the above what you truly need at this stage is a kick-start to get your name recognized in the right places. This strategy is a low-budget one, add more marketing things like PR companies the more budget you have, but this is the basic:
  1. Create a G+ user and make it an Author of your content. Connect with people on Google plus who are in the same line of business and share similar interest and gently advise them to have a look at your site. If you contact more site owners, you have a better chance of linkage.
  1. Create relevant business pages and personal user profile,  who will be kept up to date and publish the content of your site (another MEDIA to reach TRAFFIC and also get LINKS).
Try to be active wherever you can:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • Intagram
  • Pinterest
  • Vine
  • Local networks
  • Professional networks
  • Q&A sites like Yahoo!Answers
  • Forums on the relevant topic
Don’t SPAM there, publish USEFUL information – from either your OWN site or ANOTHER site. Help other people, comment on their threads, statuses, offer as much advice as you can and try to solve their problems. They will trust you and become your followers if they think you’re an expert.
  1. Link to as many good resources as you can from your content, and notify their owners about that. Maybe they would like to link back (yes reciprocal link exchange aren’t favored by Google but these type of two very relevant and good sites type of link-backs aren’t an issue).
  2. Guest post on another blogs. Don’t guest posts on sites that take whoever they can find to guest post, but aim high for blogs like ones listed on Techcrunch and maintain very high quality throughout the articles. Don’t link to your content artificially but rather write on a topic that DEMANDS the link to your site for more information.
  3. Make a real press release to your new content or product. Approach relevant industry news sites and big time magazines and offer them different re-writes of your story. DON’T just publish your story via automated PR feeds like PRWire.
  4. Search for specific queries that you provide the best information on. For example if you provide explanations on how to run a marathon, search for each and every query that deals with the topic. Contact each GOOD site (site that is up to date, good content, and good Google ranks for the relevant queries) and simply tell them you have relevant content (specify for which pages and which are your relevant pages). Tell them a link can be nice but don’t be pushy about that. Try to be friendly and interact, the more they feel friendly with you – the higher the odds you’ll get a link from it.
  5.  Do branding based campaigns – co-citations (how many times your brand is mentioned over the web) is also super important. Sites like YouTube let you upload a branding video – make a good catchy one and get people familiar with your brand. Youtube is just one option, how about replying with your brand name in relevant big time blogs comment section (people read those like crazy!). It’s not the comment link that matters, it doesn’t, but the fact people will get curious about who you are and eventually look for you.
** Both searches for brand name, and co-citations are really helpful for SEO, but more than that – when people know your brand, they are more likely to buy or register **

Summary

I hope you enjoyed this guide as I most certainly did.
If we have to summarize the process described here into a list of pointers, I would say:
  • It begins with the proper set of mind.
  • That proper set of mind thinks USERS and PRODUCT before marketing aspects.
  • Don’t jump into product creation before you envision it, and understand exactly which purpose it serves.
  • Analyze your set of skills and strong points and make sure you understand what the advantage this product has over others products.
  • Look at competitors and do preliminary keywords research to understand what the audience wants to see. Have a complete list of pages to include at this stage.
  • Structure pages starting with the most common or desired intent and let users choose from a variety of things to proceed to.
  • Important pages should be more highlighted and get more links within the site.
  • Write to the people who help you build the site a very detailed overview of what you are looking for
  • After product is done – marketing is a joke. Create presence in the most relevant places like forums, blogs, social networks, add people and help them as much as you can – connect with them, and they are likely to link to you or share your content.
  • Add some blog posting to the mix in extreme high quality blogs.
  • Brand your site on top of getting links, as co-citations on the web & brand searches will aid your SEO
Good luck and thanks for reading through these 3811 words :)

Top 3 Free Banner Maker Resources


We all know that the look of your website has a big impact on your visitors. This is the first thing that they see and can make them decide to stay or leave. Maybe you have a bad design and they will think that your website is outdated or maybe your site is too flashy and shows no credibility.

In either case you need to have an adequate design to match the purpose of your website and your targeted audience.

Two important elements on every blog are the header and the banners :

a)      The Header – is part of your brand and is a way to differentiate yourself from others

b)      The Banner – helps you to catch the visitors attention and redirect them to a specific location or page (a product, a service or even another website)

There are two ways to obtain a nice header or banner:

1)      Hire a pro – which is a great option for those that have funds to invest in their website.

2)      Do it yourself – which is a great option if you have the knowledge to use different graphic softwares like Photoshop or Corel or any other program on the market.

For those that don’t have any web design skills nor budget to acquire a proper design, there is a third solution – Free Banner Maker Websites !

They are very intuitive and easy to use and, on top of all, provide very nice banners or even headers because most of them lets you choose the size and format. Below I have quickly reviewed the top 3 banner maker websites that I stumbled upon.

Fotor Banner MakerA great website with nice layout a lot of powerful features that can help build professional looking banners. You have the ability to customize everything from the size, the background, adding text or graphics and everything in between just by clicking and editing the items.

The first thing you need to choose is how you want to go about it:
1)      Choose a predefined size and template
2)      Enter a custom size and make everything from scratch
Fotor banner maker

After that you will enter the dashboard where you can start compiling/editing your desired banner. On the left side you have the control panel where all the tools are.

If you want to add a picture or graphic, you can do so by going to right sidebar and choosing the location of the picture (Computer, Facebook, Flickr or the Web).
Fotor banner


When you are happy with the result, you can simply press Save, change the file name, select the format (.jpg or .png), click again Save and then select the location where you want the file saved in your computer.

BannerFans Banner Maker – A straight forward banner maker where you are guided, step by step, thru the whole process. It is not as powerful Fotor (my personal opinion) but it’s easier to use and you can save your work in 3 different formats – PNG, JPG and GIF.

Every time you make changes, you can click the “Update my banner” button to see exactly how it will look like after edits.

bannerfans banner

As with the previous website, you can choose a preset format or you can enter a custom size that will fit your needs. This is done in the Layout tab where you can also choose background colors and many other options. The next two tabs are for the text you want to be added and customizations like shadows and effects.

The Border tab will let you add…uhhh…borders to your banner J Is a good way to make a banner stand out and depending on the purpose, you have 5 options – No border, Solid, Dashed, Double solid and Double dashed (like I did in the example above).

WebBanner24 Banner Maker – Very simple to navigate thru all the option because all you need is the left sidebar. You can easily select a size template or use a custom size and then you can start editing the background, add text, border, filters or even animations.
webbanner24 banner


As you can see from the sample above, in just a few minutes you can have a pretty basic banner done. Is not the best looking by far, but is so easy. And sometimes we just need something quick that will do the job.

This are my picks for top 3 banner maker websites ! Which one do you like more ? Do you know another great resource for creating free banner ? If so, please let me know in the comment section bellow !

How to Plan and Execute a Successful Social Media Strategy


If you run an online business and you haven’t jumped into the social game, you haven’t even begun to touch the potential for your success. Now more than ever, social media is a critical element to a well-planned and executed marketing strategy.

Don’t believe the naysayers that complain social media isn’t quantifiable. In a sense, that’s true – social is, by its very nature, dynamic and tough to compartmentalize. What it brings your brand, however, is priceless – a true, personal connection with your customers.

Put simply: if you sell shoes online with no social media presence, and your competitor sells equally fabulous shoes with a strong social presence, your competitor will win the race. Why? Because they’re better able to connect to their audience. These days, engagement provides the keys to the proverbial kingdom.

So how do you craft a social media strategy from scratch? I’ve simplified the process below, in 8 easy steps. You’ll also find a list of the most common mistakes companies make in social media – those are listed so you don’t have to repeat such blunders!

Step 1: Define Your Social Brand Strategy

Every company has a story to tell, based upon the tone and spirit of its brand. If you haven’t clearly defined your mission statement, your goals, and your presence as a company, that has to be first.
T
he next step is a bit dynamic, but so is social media. Plot out the goals you’d like to achieve through your social signals, even if they don’t seem directly related. Examples include tangible goals, like increase site traffic by 25%. Other equally critical goals are things like “increase the likability of the company brand” and “create a personal connection to our brand and customers.” The latter are really what social media does best, and this is why it’s tough to quantify. Personal engagement, however, is so critical, it’s worth taking on abstract tasks to make it a reality for your company.

Step 2: Competitive and Community Analysis

Before you spend hours and hours plotting what you instinctively think ought to be your social strategy, go first to two audiences who may know better than you do: your competitors, and your customers.

Comb through your competitors social profiles and campaigns carefully – those will tell you a lot about what to do, and what not to do. Likewise, don’t forget to reach out to your already loyal customers and see what they’re responding to – this is the heart of any social media campaign, once it launches, so it makes tons of sense to tackle this pre-launch as well.

Step 3: Narrow Your Focus

True, we learned above that social media can assist your company in any number of arenas. For the sake of your first social launch, however, it’s wise to focus on one core metric or area of improvement, and build from there.

Is it most important to build brand awareness? To increase loyalty and retention? To sell more products? Choose a focus, and build your first round of tasks around this goal.

Step 4: Determine the Metrics That Spell Success

Now that you’ve carved out a core focus, it’s critical that you define the metrics that will help you determine success or failure in the social stratosphere. This is a main reason why so many complain that social media isn’t measurable – they don’t take the time to define what that means for each campaign.

Think carefully about what your goal is, and subsequently, how you know you’ve reached it. Your focus should never be about how many “Likes” or Twitter followers you amass, but the engagement, ROI, or site traffic increases you’re enjoying. Followers are meaningless if they don’t meet your targeted goals.

Step 5: Know Your Demographic

You know who you are, what your core intent is, and how you’re going to measure success. Next, it’s essential that you create a clear map of who you are attempting to reach. What traits do you know about your current audience? Exactly who will you be attempting to engage in the social space? Think about psychographic traits of not only your current customers, but those you hope to reach as well. Understanding exactly who you are trying to reach will help you craft the perfect campaign.

Step 6: What Makes You Special?

One of the prevailing traits that the companies who are most successful in any marketing space is that they know what makes their company special. Coca-Cola isn’t about beverages, it’s about happiness. Disney doesn’t make movies, they make magic.

Put your thinking cap on, and define the one thing your brand most comprehensively represents. Is it a lifestyle trait? Is it a specific tone or vibe? Or is it something more tangible, like good health or looking stylish? If you know what makes your company stand out from the crowd, and commit to communicating this across the board, you’ll strengthen your core identity and inspire your audience to new heights. This is what separates mediocre marketing from powerhouse campaigns.

Step 7: Make it Personal

As you begin to craft ideas for social media campaigns, you’ll want to define what your voice is as a brand. The more personal in the social space, the better – people need to feel emotionally connected, and that doesn’t happen with logos, it happens with other people.

You’ll likely have several people in your organization execute social signals during your company’s lifecycle, so it’s important to define the tone, demeanor, and style of those correspondences. Inconsistency is not your friend. People respond to brands that stay true to themselves in every correspondence; especially on social networks. Map out you social media policies and personality before you execute a single campaign.

Step 8: Begin Your Social Dominance

Now that you know why you’re going social, who you are as a brand, what makes you special, and who your audience is, chances are you are more prepared to make a big social splash than any of your competitors. Now, and only now, is it time to map out a campaign or two.

Take it one social network at a time. Set up your profiles on all your chosen sites thoughtfully and carefully – again, being mindful to consistency, honoring your personal tone, and paying attention to detail. Each channel should feel distinct, yet still very much like your brand’s identity. Consider your specific reason for engaging in each channel, and honor that as well. Then, begin to formulate updates, content, promotions, and related campaign parameters for each selected channel.

Don’t forget to measure the metrics of each channel and campaign carefully, and be fearless about making calculated shifts in your strategy as needed.

There are many mistakes made over and over again by companies in taking on social media. Your last task before a full scale social launch is to learn from these common pitfalls.

Review the list below, and take them to heart – committing even one of these social sins can undo all the hard work you completed above.

1)    Avoid Talking About Yourself Too Much

Social media netizens abhor brands that do nothing but espouse their greatness. Your formula should be 1 part brand aggrandizement to 9 parts informative shares. Avoid hard sells, and present your audience with content that’s relevant to your industry and their interests.

2)     Remember One Size Does Not Fit All

Many companies treat all social channels the same. As mentioned above, it’s truly important to consider the reason you’re participating in each community, and to craft content accordingly. Seeing the same updates across multiple channels is annoying and insulting. Be creative, and treat each audience with respect.

3)    Avoid Negativity

It may be tempting to lambast your competitors in the social space, but resist this temptation – negative posts of any kind are a big turn-off. Always take the high road and focus on the positive.

4)    Don’t Ignore Your Channels

Once you officially launch a presence on any social channel, dedicate time within your organization to foster that community. Nothing turns-off social fans more than a company’s profile that hasn’t been updated in months, with comments from followers left unanswered. If you can’t afford to have real-time coverage of your social spaces, don’t do it at all.

5)    Never Solely Rely on Words to Convey Your Message

Social signals are far more likely to be shared and “Liked” if you have visual media to accompany the words. Text-only updates are fine in small doses – but pictures really do speak volumes more. Videos, all the more so.

You now have all the tools you need to craft a thoughtful, targeted, and hugely successful social media presence. Stay true to your brand at all times, be strategic and respectful to your audience, and watch how beneficial a great social media presence can be to your brand’s identity, and your bottom line.

Simple Forms With Python And Django Tutorial

 It’s weekend again, and you want to make sure you won’t go through next week without playing soccer with your friends in the local playing field. Every week it’s the same thing.

You send a mail to a twenty-something people mailing list, asking what time and day is best for everyone.

Half an hour later you have 30 emails on 7 different threads with 23 different playing time options. What a mess. If only you could just send a website link to everyone, and come back a day later to see the final results. What if you could set up such a survey in under an hour?
* If you want to read this review and tutorial as a PDF file, you can download it HERE.

0. Preview

This post is going to give an overview of Python and the widely-used Django as web framework. It’s my personal preference of website building blocks and I won’t be discussing its pros and cons here. I’m going to try to be as focused as possible, which means I’ll give as little customization options as possible so you won’t get confused. Security and beauty of websites will also not addressed here for the same reasons. Feel free to ask for elaboration in the comments section, or using Django’s extensive documentation.

1. Setup time

So, what do we need for the next hour? First of all, Python version 2.7.5 scripting language installed (32bit and 64bit version). Second and last, Django web framework. Download the framework here and extract it somewhere on your drive (lets say, c:\code\Django-1.5.1\). Now install Django as a python package by opening an admin cmd.exe and running
c:\>c:\python27\python.exe c:\code\Django-1.5.1\setup.py install
c:\>cd c:\code
c:\code\>c:\python27\scripts\djang-admin.py startproject soccer
note: You should add c:\python27\ to your system’s PATH variable, to avoid typing the full path every time.
Perfect. We now have Django website project. Of course every site needs a database to hold.. well.. data. Go ahead and open c:\code\soccer\soccer\settings.py with your favorite editor (mine’s Notepad++). You’ll see a line saying “DATABASES“, edit the configuration under it so it will look like this (additions in bold):
DATABASES = {
    ‘default’: {
        ‘ENGINE’: ‘django.db.backends.sqlite3‘, # Add ‘postgresql_psycopg2′, ‘mysql’, ‘sqlite3′ or ‘oracle’.
        ‘NAME’: ‘c:/code/soccer/soccer.sqlite‘,   # Or path to database file if using sqlite3.
        # The following settings are not used with sqlite3:
        ‘USER’: ”,
        ‘PASSWORD’: ”,
        ‘HOST’: ”,                      # Empty for localhost through domain
        ‘PORT’: ”,                      # Set to empty string for default.
    }
}
Note: Django paths are always using forward slashes (‘/’), whether you’re using Windows or Linux

Now set up your DB by running the following command. It will ask you for configuring a superuser for your website, you can just choose admin/admin user/pass combination for now, don’t worry about it.
c:\code\soccer\>python manage.py syncdb
Last but not least, we need to create an application inside our project. Let go to console again and type:
c:\code\soccer\>python manage.py startapp survey
To let Django know we are going to use this app, open your settings.py again and edit:
INSTALLED_APPS = (
    ‘django.contrib.auth’,
    ‘django.contrib.contenttypes’,
    ‘django.contrib.sessions’,
    ‘django.contrib.sites’,
    ‘django.contrib.messages’,
    ‘django.contrib.staticfiles’,
    ‘survey’,
)
Note: Remember that python is an “offside rule” language, meaning spaces and indentation is critical. Take extra care when copying&pasting the code from the blog.
At this stage you can start your webserver:
c:\code\soccer\>python manage.py runserver 0.0.0.0:8000
This runs the webserver on port 8000, and allows access from any IP (after all, a survey for yourself is no survey!).  Check that everything went fine by entering 127.0.0.1:8000 in your browser.

Congratulation, you have a website up and running! Now lets add some content to it.

2. Writing our survey system

Lets start with models, these are essentially items of information you will want to store in your DB and present to users. Open your models.py (in our application, which as you remember is in c:\code\soccer\survey) and insert the following to the file:
from django.db import models
class Vote(models.Model):
  choiceDay = models.CharField(max_length=100)
  choiceTime = models.IntegerField()
  voterName = models.CharField(max_length=100)
This bit will add a new table to our website’s DB with 3 columns: choiceDay for the desired day for playing (“Sun”, “Wed”, etc.). choiceTime will be an Integer field because we only want to give 2 options for match time (08:00 and 20:00). voterName will be the name of the specific vote item so we can track no one’s been cheating. Because this is a DB modification, you will now need to run the syncdb command again (see previous section if you forgot the syntax).

Another building block of Django is a view, which is a “type of webpage” inside you website. e.g. in this blog, a view is either a “Blog post”, “Blog homepage” or “Sitemap”. Views are created in the views.py file, next to your previous models.py. Lets add our first view now, this one will be in charge of simply displaying the survey options to the voters and asking them to choose. Later on we will create a view that shows the results of the vote. Open views.py and add:
from django.http import HttpResponse, HttpResponseRedirect
from django.shortcuts import render
from survey.models import Vote
def surveyDisplay(request):
  return render(request, ‘survey/display.html’)
This is a very simplistic view, and as you can guess, all it does it direct us to an html page we will now create. This doesn’t yet use any of Django’s power-ups, but just hang on. For the html pages we will use, create a folder inside “survey” named “templates”, and under that another one called “survey” (that’s just how Django works). Now create a file called “display.html” (It should reside at c:\code\soccer\survey\templates\survey\display.html).
<html> <head><title>Soccer time survey</title></head>
<body>
Hey, when would you like to play soccer?
<form action=”process” method=”post”>
{% csrf_token %}
Time:
    <input type=”radio” name=”time” id=”choice1″ value=”1″>08:00</input>
<input type=”radio” name=”time” id=”choice2″ value=”2″>20:00</input> </br>
Day:
<select name=”day” >
<option value=”Sun”>Sun</option>
<option value=”Mon”>Mon</option>
<option value=”Tue”>Tue</option>
<option value=”Wed”>Wed</option>
<option value=”Thu”>Thu</option>
<option value=”Fri”>Fri</option>
<option value=”Sat”>Sat</option>
</select> <br />
 Name:
<input type=”text” name=”name” /> <br />
    <input type=”submit” value=”Vote” />
</form>
</body> </html>
As you can see from the html, this is a regular and simple POST form (ignore the csrf_token for the moment, its a security cookie Django forces you to use in forms). We are simply asking the user to fill in three fields, and posting our results to a webpage called “process“. As you guessed by now, process would be a view in our website. Lets write that view now. Open views.py and add a new view to handle the survey processing:
def surveyProcess(request):
  Vote(choiceDay = request.POST['day'],
choiceTime = int(request.POST['time']),
voterName = request.POST['name']).save()
  return HttpResponseRedirect(“results”)
The first expression creates a new Vote object, and fill its data with the information we received from the form. The save() function inserts the object to our DB. The last line redirects the user’s webpage to the results page.
Yes. You are guessing correctly, now we will write our third and final view – the survey results.
def surveyResults(request):
  votes = Vote.objects.all()
  context = {‘votes’: votes}
  return render(request, ‘survey/results.html’, context)
What have we here this time?  Vote.objects.all() actually pulls from the DB all of the votes objects into as a list. the next two lines should be interpreted together as “Load the survey/results.html webpage, giving it the votes list as a context for parsing information”. If you remember display.html we just wrote, you remember it was static, meaning it always displayed the same content. One of Django’s strong suits is passing along information (aka context) for the template html file. Lets see how results.html (in the same templates/survey directory as its friend display.html) should use this context:
<html> <head><title>Soccer time results</title></head> <body>
<ul>
{% for vote in votes %}
<li> {{ vote.voterName }} wants to play on {{ vote.choiceDay }} at {% if vote.choiceTime == 1 %} 08:00 {% else %} 20:00 {% endif %}</li>
{% endfor %}
</ul>
<a href=”survey”>Back to main page</a>
</body>  </html>
Have you ever seen anything more simple? The Django templates engine allows us to write actual flow-control code in our html templates. Here we create a list, and add a bullet for each entry in the context we were given (by using the field names we chose way back when we created models.py). We use the each list item’s data either by testing it (using {% if … %} or simply printing using {{vote.name}}).
Note: There is nothing stopping you from prettifying your templates in any way you see fit. Neither me or Django will help you with that, as it is not in the current scope of discussion, but you can feel free to implement CSS and JavaScript extensions like bootstrap or knockout.

3. Putting it all together

So we have our three views, and two templates to go along with them (remember our second view, the processing one, doesn’t display anything to the user so it doesn’t need a template). The only thing missing is how to connect everything together. If you think back on what we created, we said a “view” is like a section of our website when thought of from our site of writing the code. From the outside, a “view” is associated with a URL of course.

Let’s open our websites urls.py (under c:\code\soccer\soccer\) and fill in:
from django.conf.urls import patterns, include, url
from survey import views
urlpatterns = patterns(”,
    url(r’^survey$’, ‘survey.views.surveyDisplay’),
  url(r’^process$’, ‘survey.views.surveyProcess’),
  url(r’^results$’, ‘survey.views.surveyResults’),
)
What have we here? Django loads this page when we run the server, and thus knows which view is to load with every URL the user typed. The first parameter to each url() is a regular-expression matching the URL typed, and the second parameter is which view to load. In our website we have the surveyDisplay view for the main page (which now you know will be accessed by <websiteURL>:8000/survey). You remember the post address of the form was “process”, and here we connect it to the correct view as well. The third url() you can already figure out by yourself (Hint: we referenced it when redirecting the user after posting results).

That’s it! Save all your files, go back to your console and run the server once more. Once you are convinced everything is alright, run manage.py flush to reset the DB, and send your website link to everyone you know. Nothing will stand in your way from playing soccer again.

How To Monetize Your Website Better



This is a beginners guide on how to better monetize your site. If you’ve been experimenting with different methodologies, there’s probably limited value you can guide from this guide.

The topic which it addresses is HOW to MAKE MONEY online from your web property. It applies to all sorts of properties, may it be, a website, blog, free page, empty domain or wherever you control and has traffic. This guide is not about building more traction and interest into your site. For that we have our complete marketing guide. It is also not about creating websites in the most efficient way – for that we have our homepage.
* If you want to read this review and tutorial as a PDF file, you can download it HERE.

So, without further ado, how to better monetize your site:

The first place to go is Google adsense . It’s probably the most common ways for websites to monetize their traffic.
Here’s how it works: an advertiser (company that wishes to buy their traffic via this system) pays a certain amount of money for each visitor that will click on his ad (we’ll refer to it as a “click“ from now on).

This amount is determined in open market conditions – meaning the more competitive the vertical is, the more money will be proposed on that click.

As a website owner (“publisher“) you can dedicate a certain portion of website for ads. You will receive a payment each time a visitor clicks on one of these ads. The amount of money you will receive is a certain undisclosed portion of what the advertiser will pay for the click.

The sum will depend heavily on the content of your website and how the Google Adsense system will categorize it. As explained before, in more competitive and lucrative verticals, the cost and payout of 1 click will be higher.

This system has obvious advantages:

1. Google Adsense will tailor the ads to your site’s content and to the likeliness of clicking on them, so you are supposedly going to get more clicks, and the ads will look less foreign to your content.

2. Google is trustworthy and always pays on time, no exceptions.

3. You don’t have to presell. You write whatever is on your mind and you integrate the ads wherever you want, in each format you’d prefer.

There are cons as well:

1. In some verticals you might experience very low cost per click, and you’ll need to generate a lot of them.

2. The policy clearly states you must put in a way that these will be obvious advertising (not too incorporated into the text) which will reduce the percentage of click-outs.

3. They do not approve many sites. Looking for original content and some depth.
The second stop would be affiliate marketing. 

Affiliate marketing is performance based advertising. Google Adsense is performance based as well (the more clicks, the more income), but in affiliate marketing the merchant (advertiser) pays by more complex actions. The most popular way of payment is on a per-sale basis. Meaning that you can refer users to a site, and for each product they buy (they will be tracked and segmented as “your traffic”), you’ll get a certain percentage from the sale, or a fixed fee. That fee in most instances will be remarkably higher than what you’ll get for each click on Google adsense, but the percentage of traffic you’ll refer onward and will eventually buy or perform the target action, is much smaller.

The pros:

1. You can and should presell the product. Unlike Google Adsense, affiliate marketing is integrated into the content, and if you do a good job, you’ll be referring users after they are well-aware of where their going to, with the intent of buying (or performing actions). In Google Adsense, the ads will be presented dynamically, but with affiliate marketing you’ll be referring to the merchants of your choice.

2. If your site has high value traffic that has a tendency to buy, it is probable the value you’ll get from commissions will be higher than the one you get on a per-click basis (Google Adsense doesn’t differentiate between “natures of traffic” or other segments. It only determines the cost per click by vertical & nationality of the users).

3. You can select the products that you recommend your traffic, and actually pick out the ones that can have genuine value to your users.

The cons:

1. You are dependent on trust with the merchant as he reports sales (that is why it’s important to go through big affiliate programs like CJ as a beginner). You are also dependent on his performance, if he performs worse, you’ll have less sales and less income.

2. You can send out many clicks and not get any income in return.

3. If you build your content around a product or a service you want to promote, the offer might become unavailable and you will end up with un-monetized traffic.
* Please note I’ve only mentioned a specific action (sale) but there are other actions merchant will pay you for. For example leads (getting details of potential clients) or downloads (for each person who downloaded a software) or even sign up (for a trial period). *

My third shop would be CPM.

CPM is payment per view. The #CPM refers to what would you get for viewing a certain ad for 1000 users (M stands for Mille – 1,000).

This system is mostly useful for very high amounts of traffic (the CPM will be $1 to $10 depending on the nature of your site and traffic, which means 100,000 visitors a month will bring $100-$1000 which isn’t much at all for a site of this scale).

It needs to be tested carefully against other forms of advertising as the ones mentioned above, to verify this is indeed the most effective way.

Most sites that use it are sites that don’t have that much content which can integrate contextual ads like Google adsense, or doesn’t have anything in particular to sell to match the content of the website.

The best places to search for CPM advertising are ad exchanges.

There are other ways as well that I will refer to briefly:

4. Make your own product. Think of your target audience and figure out if there’s something they would like to buy that you cannot externally sell via an affiliate program, OR if you are doing very well as an affiliate, and you believe you can make as good store/product as the one you are currently selling.

5. Sell banners individually on a fixed price – if your site is fairly well known and people showed interested in it in the past, but it’s not “huge” so you have limited banner spots, you can set contracts with individual advertisers. The biggest advantage here is that you will get 100% of the cut (not using any middle men), and that they can tailor the ad precisely to your site. You can request a pre-paid down-payment when dealing with individual companies.

6. Selling text links – this is a big Google no-no and will be get you penalized if they catch you, but if you do this wisely and sell to very relevant sites, and integrate them currently – there are very little chances you will get caught. The potential is extremely limited and it’s recommended to small-time sites that wish to get an extra 100-200 USD a month (from selling multiple ads in lucrative markets).

7. Video/in-game advertising: if you have your app, your videos, etc. – then you have the “goods”. Currently many advertisers are looking for highly integrated advertising that cannot be skipped or ignored, and pay better for it than text.

8. Pop-ups / pop-unders: you will get maximal CPM value if you add (on top of your regular ads) a pop-up or pop-under but on the other hand, you’ll be scaring away your traffic which hates this. This special way is reserved to porn and scam mainly :)

I hope this will initiate a discussion, I would be happy to see live URLs and make some recommendations.

Here are additional resources. If you found this article useful in anyway, we would certainly appreciate if you link to it, share it or make a comment below. We appreciate the time you took to look into this.

Additional resources (beginners):

Inforgraphic:
How Social Sites Make Money

Via: USBundles.com

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