Friday, February 25, 2011

Tips For Surfing A Manual Traffic Exchange

Traffic Exchanges are a great way to build up traffic to your website or blog.  However, there are a few tricks you need to be aware of to help you surf them successfully.
  • NEVER begin surfing any traffic exchange without a firewall and unless your anti-virus software is up to date.  BitDefender stopped five attacks against my computer over the course of three weeks.
  • Try to surf at least 5 exchanges at once by having each running in its own tab. You get a lot more mileage out of  your surfing time that way rather than surfing one exchange at a time. 
  • If you're using auto-surf exchanges, remember to check your browser every now and then to see if any of them stalled and need to be reset.
  • For manual exchanges, arrange them in tabs based on the length of the timer.  For instance, if you prefer to work from right to left, you would put the exchange with the shortest timer in the tab to the far right, and the one with the longest on the far left.  That way, but the time you work your way through all the tabs, the longest one will be ready.
  • If you're still getting to your longest timer before it's ready, try clicking on the shortest one two or three times before moving on.  As a bonus, you'll get two to three times the credits on that traffic exchange as well!
  • Turn your sound off.  So many of the websites and blogs on a traffic exchange have audio and video clips. Five of these playing at once will drive you insane. 
  • Surfing is NOT a work-safe activity. The noise and the threat of virus attacks make traffic exchanges ill-advised on the job. 
  • Take note of websites and blogs that make you want to stop surfing for a minute and read. What caught your eye?  Apply what you learn to your own blog.
You can easily get a lot of hits with traffic exchanges.  Surfing can also be an interesting and educational experience.  Knowing what to expect from an exchange is half the battle. These tips should help you optimize your experience.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Working With Article Marketing Tools

In the upcoming weeks, I will be doing a series of reviews on article marketing tools.  Currently, I'm in the process of working with these tools, and while they're easy to use right out of the box, it takes some time to learn how to use them well.  One thing you definitely do not want to do is to spin an article without carefully choosing your synonyms. 

Some synonyms are just uncomfortable.  For instance, "I made it move" sounds okay, while "I made it articulate" just sounds a bit off.  People don't talk like that, and for anyone who knows about spinning, it's a dead give away that you are indeed spinning your article.  Then there are those synonyms that work in one context, but not in another.  Training and conditioning can be used as synonyms for each other, but the sentence "Turn on the air training," doesn't make any sense. 

It's important to keep in mind that these tools are just that, tools.  If you use them properly, they'll do a great job for you.  If you don't, well you'll get an article that sounds like gibberish.  Worse, if you submit it, then you've got an article that looks like gibberish with your name on it and linking back to your site or blog. 

There's no such thing as an article marketing tool that you can just click and publish. Even spun articles need the human touch. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting Backlinks With Article Marketing

The more research I do, the more I come to find out that article marketing is a key factor to the success of any online business.  Not only does article marketing give you the opportunity to sell yourself, your site, and your products, but it also is the primary source of getting backlinks. 

Here's how it works.  Include a link back to your site at the bottom of every article you write, and then submit your articles to directories all over the Internet.  Sounds simple enough, but there's a catch.  Google dismisses duplicate content.  So, if you submit your article to 100 directories, Google only counts the first one it finds.  The other 99 were pretty much a waste of your time. 

That's where article spinning comes into play.  Spinning an article means rewriting it by using different words and phrases, rearranging sentences and paragraphs, making it just different enough that Google doesn't see it as a duplicate. Imagine doing that 99 times.  I should mention that some people say it is only necessary to submit to the top ten article directories, so you'd only have to spin it 9 times. 

However, most of the sites I researched recommended submitting to at least 50 while others suggest up to 300.  That's a lot of spinning.  It's also a lot of submitting. There is software that can automate these tasks.  I'll be reviewing some of those next week, so stay tuned.

The point of all of this spinning and submitting is to get quality backlinks.  Quality backlinks, because they are attached to an article laced with your keywords, and coming from sites where they are listed under related categories amongst other related articles. There's just no getting around it.  If you want to be a success online, you have to do article marketing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Backlinks - What Are They & How To Get Them

By now you've probably heard that backlinks are one of the vital cogs that make SEO (Search Engine Optimization) work, but that still doesn't explain what they are or how you get them. What they are is rather simple. Backlinks are links placed on other sites that lead back to your website or blog. Backlinks tell Google and Yahoo that other sites think you're worth linking too, and that gets you a higher page rank, which means more visitors and more sales. How to get them is not quite so simple.

There are, of course, programs you can purchase that will post your backlinks all over the Internet, but it's a good practice to learn how to do something yourself before you decide if it's worth paying to have it done for you. If you have the pioneer spirit or just can't afford to pay for it, below is a simple guide for getting backlinks to your website or blog.

Submit Your Site To Web Directories

Web Directories are like phone directories, only they list websites instead of phone numbers. Once your site is added to the directory, you'll have a backlink. Most web directories are free, even though they do have pay options that move your site up to the top of their list. Some directories claim that if you choose the free option that it'll take three months before it is reviewed, but in actuality it takes a couple of weeks on average.

There are lots of web directories, so if one only takes paid submissions, just skip it and move on to the next. Typically, you'll want to submit your site to 20 - 30 directories per week. Most directories will eventually drop websites from their listings after 60 - 90 days. It's a good idea to resubmit your website or blog every three months. Check to see if it's still there before resubmitting.

Sign Up With Popular Related Sites

Find websites in your niche, or closely related to it, that already rank high with Google and Yahoo, then become a member. Most sites have member profiles, which you can customize and add a link to your blog. Instant backlink! Remember, links from related sites are considered more valuable to search engines. If your blog is about gardening, you'll get more mileage by putting a backlink on a site about potting soil rather than one about electronics.

Join Related Internet Forums

Forums are everywhere and they cover just about every subject imaginable. If there is a topic that more than one person is interested in, you can bet there's a forum dedicated to it. Probably more than one. Just as with websites, forums give their members a profile, where you can post an instant backlink to your website or blog. However, forums also have a feature called a signature. Much like it sounds, a signature is added to the end of every post or comment a member makes within the forum. Signatures can be customized to include a link to your site.

By using a signature on a related forum, you are creating a new backlink each time you post. Warning: most forums will not tolerate blatant advertising, so be sure to keep your posts relevant and on topic. Staying on topic will also give you a good reputation within the community, which will encourage other members to check out your website or blog.

Respond To Related Blogs

Search for blogs related to your topic and post a comment. Most blogs allow you to include a link to your website, so once again you have an instant backlink on a related site. As with forums, it's important to keep your responses relevant. Don't just type "good article" and hit submit. Read the article first. Find something in it that you can elaborate on, so you can contribute something to the conversation. Even better, ask a question. That way you can start a dialogue and establish a relationship with that blogger, who in turn might visit and comment on your blog. It's important to become part of your niche community, so people in related fields get to know who you are and possibly help promote your website or blog for you.

Submitting Articles

Writing and submitting non-fiction articles can be a moneymaking prospect in and of itself, however they're also an excellent way to get backlinks. Most article submission sites allow you to add your link to your profile, to a resource box, and to the bottom of the article itself. That's a lot of relevant backlinks. Your articles might get the attention of other writers, who then might visit your blog and comment. All of this clicking and commenting equals quality traffic in the eyes of the search engines.

Backlinks, although simple to define, are a vital part of marketing a website or blog. The more links you have leading back to your site from other related websites, the higher the search engines will rank you. Getting quality backlinks can be time consuming, but if done correctly, it can establish and maintain your reputation in your niche community. And, that's time well spent.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Building Traffic With Traffic Exchanges

As previously discussed, traffic refers to the number of people visiting your site. There are other terms used for this as well, such as hits and page views, but they all mean basically the same thing ... they measure the number of people looking at your blog or website. The more traffic you get, the more opportunities you have to sell your products. One way to build traffic to your blog is to put it on a traffic exchange.

A traffic exchange is a website where its members agree to help each other build up traffic for their various blogs and websites. Blogs and websites are placed on a rotation, and members "surf" each other's sites, viewing each for a specified amount of time before clicking through to the next one. Instead of "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours," it's "If you look at mine, I'll look at yours."

There are all kinds of different traffic exchanges. Some want you to visit a page for 30 seconds, while others can require as little as 10 seconds per view. Some allow you to surf for credits, some for cash, and some for both. Credits are basically the amount of times your blog will get run through the traffic exchange. So, if you have 50 credits, your blog will get viewed 50 times. The rate at which you earn credits or cash varies from traffic exchange to traffic exchange. While it is possible to make money from surfing a traffic exchange, it really isn't very much, so I personally only surf for credits.

There are auto-surf exchanges and manual traffic exchanges. For an auto-surf traffic exchange, you simply go to their site, click to start surfing, then minimize the window and go about your business. Auto-surf surfs automatically. All you have to do is check it from time to time to make sure it doesn't get hung up on one site. Auto-surf exchanges sound great, because you can build up a lot of traffic without a lot of effort. However, my blogspot blog was rejected by every auto-surf exchange I signed up with. I don't know if it's a blogspot issue specifically, or if it's because you have to have your own domain.

Manual traffic exchanges mean you have to click on a button in order to move on to the next site. You will not get credit for visiting a site if you click on the button before the timer runs down, or if you click on the wrong button. Since I'm confined to using only manual exchanges, I usually have about five of them running in different tabs at the same time, and I surf them all at once. By the time I've clicked through all of them, the timers on the first ones have run down, so I can begin the cycle anew.

It was recommended to me to leave my blog on traffic exchanges for three weeks, and then to take them off. As mentioned in my previous post, the search engines don't count hits from traffic exchanges as quality traffic, so there's no real point to leaving it on the rotation any longer than that. Working For Yourself has just about completed its three weeks, and I will have gotten over 3,000 hits by the time it's done. That's surfing five manual exchanges three days per week, and viewing approximately 75 sites per exchange, per day.

Below, I will give you links to my favorite manual traffic exchanges. But before you start surfing, there are some things you should be aware of. First, there is the noise. A lot of blogs and sites have audio and video recordings, and sometimes you are listening to five of these going off at once. It's enough to drive you crazy, so I recommend surfing with the speakers off.

Second, DO NOT get on a traffic exchange unless you have up to date virus protection. My anti-virus software caught and stopped three viruses while on the exchanges. If you consider the number of sites viewed, the percentage of virus incidents is pretty low, but it's best not to go in unprotected.

One last question to consider is ... Are traffic exchanges a niche market unto themselves? In other words, are other people surfing the exchange potential customers? It depends on what you're selling. For the most part, the sites and blogs I saw on the exchanges are all either selling ways to make money online, or promoting other traffic exchanges, or trying to get people into their downline (that's another topic). So, if your blog is offering the same types of opportunities, it's unlikely that one of your competitors is going to buy from you. On an auto-surf exchange, the chances of someone actually looking at your blog, much less clicking on it, are even less.

That said, I think anything different on a manual traffic exchange is at least going to get some attention. I'll be testing that theory when I put my other blog on the manual exchanges and see if I can pick up a few sales. I'll let you know how that goes.

Traffic Exchanges can perform well for you, so long as you go into it with reasonable expectations. If you're just looking to get some hits to startup a new blog or website, then they'll do the job for you. If you're trying to earn a little money by surfing, they can do that for you too, but you do a lot of clicking to get a little money. If you're looking to sell your products to other surfers, then you have to be selling something different. If you're offering the same thing that everyone else is, then a traffic exchange is probably not going to produce sales for you.

Here are my favorite Manual Traffic Exchanges:

EasyHits4U . This exchange has two surf for credit rates, and you get prizes every 25 sites you view. The prize is usually text ad impressions or banner ad impressions, and occasionally you win more credits. To me, the prizes make things a bit more fun. They also have over 300,000 registered members, so that's a lot of potential eyes on your blog, if you have a little something different to sell.

FreeTrafficWorld. You can surf for cash or credits on this exchange, and they also have a lot of members ... over 20,000.

BlogClicker. This is one of my favorite exchanges, because it features mostly blogs, and they are selling a variety of different products. Believe me, once you spend some time surfing, you will appreciate looking at something different.

Hit 2 Hit. This is one of my favorite exchanges, because it's fast. The timer is only 10 seconds long, so I usually visit 2 sites on this exchange for every 1 I surf on the others. The membership is large, over 10,000, and there are lots of games you can play, where you can win 3 credits for the right answer, which keeps things fun.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Marketing Your Website - First You Have to Learn a New Language

Okay, so you've made a blog, you've signed up with companies you want to represent, you've added banners and links to your site, and you've even gotten into the habit of posting two - three times per week so that you always have fresh content. So, now what? Now, it's time to market you blog, but before you can do that, you have to learn a whole new language.

SEO

If you've googled web marketing, you've seen the acronym SEO on page after page. It's the mack daddy of the language you're about to learn. All other terms and acronyms bow down to this one, for it is their god. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Put simply, it means making your website as Google and Yahoo friendly as possible. Just like you googled web marketing, other people might be googling to find what you're selling, and SEO is what you do to make your site rank high on the list.

That brings us to our second term, another acronym called PR. If you guessed 'public relations' you're wrong. PR stands for Page Rank. The page rank runs on a scale from 0 to 10. A rank of 0 means you are not listed at all, while 10 means you're at the top of the list.

Keywords are words or phrases that people type into a search engine when they're looking for something on the Internet. Keywords are an extremely important part of SEO, and they can break you or make you. You attach keywords to your blog by using Meta Tags.

Meta Tags can be read by search engines, but are invisible to anyone looking at the web page. They are hidden in the code that makes all web pages visible. If you want to see what they look like, go to your favorite website, right click and select View Source. All that gibberish you see there is the code that makes the web page work. Meta Tags are usually at the top. They serve a lot of functions, but the ones of most interest to SEO are keywords and description.

The Title ... not the one written at the top of your blog, but the one written at the very top in the title bar of your browser ... is also very important in SEO. I'm not sure how yet, but it's one of the things I'll be learning and sharing as this blog progresses. The title is also hidden in the code.

Next comes backlinks. Backlinks are links you put on other websites that link back to yours. Search engines look to see how important your blog is by seeing how many other websites link to it. Not just any backlinks will do. It's better if it comes from reputable sites.

The entire purpose of SEO is to get traffic to your site. Traffic is the term for the number of visits your blog gets. Search engines also measure traffic as a factor in how they rank your blog. Again, not just any old traffic will do. A couple of rounds through the traffic exchanges will only do so much good as far as PR goes. On the one hand, it looks good that your site is getting a lot of visits, on the other, search engines take into account where the hits come from, and exchanges are not considered quality traffic.

That concludes today's vocabulary lesson. Take good notes. There's going to be a quiz. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning How to Promote & Market A Blog

Some people make the choice to work for themselves. They plan for it, save for it, make sure every little detail is right before they begin. Others make the choice to earn a little extra income. But there are some of us who have the choice made for us. That choice was made for me in June of 2008, when I was laid off from my job due to lack of work. After the first year of diligently searching for and failing to find a traditional job as the recession got worse and worse, I truly feared for my future for the first time in my life.

I knew I had to do something to take control of my own financial well-being. Even if I was lucky enough to find a job, there would be no guarantee that this recession wouldn't cause me to be laid off again, but of course no job offer was forthcoming. The only option left to me was to find a way to work for myself.

My first attempt to work for myself was to open a CafePress store to sell my digital art designs. I spent hours putting the store together, uploading my artwork, designing various products, and then I waited for sales to come. And I waited. And waited. Waited some more. Nothing happened. Today, I'm still waiting, but I have a plan ... more on that later.

My second attempt was to start my own temp business featuring me as the only available temp. This business worked better for me, and it at least made more money than I spent on startup costs, but I still wasn't getting enough jobs to keep up with my day-to-day living expenses.

This is my third attempt. For a long time, I've been aware that people are making money on the web. If they can do it, why can't I? The problem, of course, was I didn't know where to even begin. A friend of mine forwarded me an email she received from a work at home program. I checked the company out and found out that they were legitimate. The system only cost $47 for lifetime access, so I figured I might as well give it a try. (I'm still evaluating the program, so I won't mention the name of this company until I'm satisfied that it works.)

It's only been a couple of weeks since I began the program, so the verdict is still out about how well it works, but I will say that I'm learning a lot. This blog was created as part of the program. It's a starter blog meant to help me learn the ropes. Now that I've finished creating the blog and getting signed up with the various companies I want to represent, the next step is to get people to my blog. It's called Traffic ... getting people to your website. I know what it is. I've always known what it was. What I don't know is how to get it.

And this is where my REAL education begins!

This is also the point where this blog finally finds its purpose. Working For Yourself is dedicated to my marketing education. I'll take what I'm learning and apply it to both this blog and to my CafePress store. (See, I told you I'd come back to this later. It's later.) Maybe it's vanity, but I happen to think that my artwork is good enough that people might want to buy a poster or a t-shirt, if I could just get my stuff in front of their eyes.

Will my efforts pay off? Stay tuned!

Executive Data Group Offers Comprehensive Training

Were you aware that data entry jobs are the #1 work from home job opportunity on the web? A great number of these jobs cannot be filled due to the lack of experience, knowledge or resources for connecting workers with the actual job opportunities.

That's where Executive Data Group comes into play. Executive Data Group will professionally train you to do a variety of job tasks. The Executive Data Group program is designed for those new to computers and the Internet. Listed below are just a few of the jobs they are going to teach you to perform for the organizations they work with.

Online Data Entry Clerk
Online data entry clerks work with numerous projects outsourced by companies. You will be working directly with the companies, which will send their projects right to you. You will be performing a variety of tasks, including creating or maintaining spreadsheets, producing company literature, word processing, etc. You'll do projects like generating fax cover sheets, company newsletters, business letterhead, etc. The majority of the forms are already designed and you are simply going to be entering the content furnished by the company and sending it back to them.

Data Marketing Operator
This is among the most popular kinds of data entry jobs on the Internet. This type of job can provide limitless amounts of work that you are able to perform at your leisure. Executive Data Group will train you to type small forms and submissions. You're trained on exactly how and where to post the submissions for any of the 1000s of businesses accessible in their network. Make use of the special pay tracking furnished by every company to monitor your earnings. You will end with a nice paycheck each month. Some workers can make $300 to $1000 or more per day with this particular program.

Web Research Assistant
Being a Web research assistant you'll be expected to look at particular websites and web-based products. You'll then compose an evaluation or complete data research reports with your general impression of the business or their products. All the tasks are carried out online from your own home. You'll have the chance to go to focus groups in your area as well. The essential part of the work is performed online and usually takes an average of about thirty minutes to finish. Lengthier projects typically mean more earning potential. This can be a fun job and build a nice income.

Executive Data Group provides you with:
  • Comprehensive training on various kinds of data entry jobs.
  • All essential software required to do the training and the jobs.
  • Thousands of organizations to perform work for.
  • Personalized guidance that will help you through training.
Does this sound like the kind of program you've been looking for? For more information, visit Executive Data Group.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Write Your Own Work At Home Success Story

Are success stories only written about those who were born with the success gene? Of course not, however, they are written about people who have made a decision to improve their current circumstances and have dedicated themselves to bettering their lives. It is easier to say you want to be a success than to actually do something about it. It's even more difficult to be a success doing work for another person. You typically make the boss more successful, but you wind up in the very same financial circumstances you started out in.

There are a variety of work from home opportunities that actually work. The most difficult part is to find the one made just for you. Remember that while some opportunities work well for others, they might not be the best solution for you. You must also make sure the company is reputable. Check to see how long they have been in business. Are they a member in good standing of the Better Business Bureau?

Before you choose a product to promote, be sure to evaluate the product while keeping a few things in mind. Does the product work? Would it be something that everyone can use? How frequently will people need or want to repurchase it? The most ideal scenario would be something that people want to buy on a monthly basis, in that case your customers will come back again and again.

A work from home business can be quite fulfilling. It may also be challenging for some people to get organized and train themselves to manage their time effectively. You can easily get swept up in the distractions that come from working in the home. To achieve success you need to consider it a job and schedule your time accordingly. In the startup phase of any business you should plan to work longer and harder. If you have chosen the right business for you, and you genuinely put forth the effort, you will succeed.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Writing For Profit Using Target Articles

Virtually everyone on every blog or website writes for profit. When you're trying to make money online, writing for profit is crucial. To move your site up the Google and Yahoo ladders you need to provide fresh content consistently. And not just any content either. Your article must be relevant. In other words, your business site is never the right spot to complain about that flat tire you got this morning.

Gear your articles toward providing potential customers with information about the companies and products you're promoting. Write an appealing, persuasive title or topic which will get across the concept of the article and that grabs people's attention. Research plenty of valuable information and facts about your products and solutions. Go over the features and benefits. Discuss problems your readers might be going through, then suggest your products as the most effective solution.

Article writing and marketing are equally important when it comes to generating revenue. The goal of promoting your article is to get targeted traffic to your site and with luck, make some sales.

Article directories are a great way to attract traffic from search engines as well as promote your products. Include keywords related to the products you are promoting in each article you submit. Be careful. Article directories will not allow blatant advertising within the article body. That's why you write about something related to the products you are offering, but not specifically about the products themselves.

Writing for profit can be fun and, well, profitable if you have the right tools and follow a few guidelines. If writing and submitting articles sounds like something you might be interested in, there is a company you might want to check out. The information they offer isn’t free, but the time and effort you save in digging up this information on you own might be worth it to you. Check it out. See what you think.

Real Writing Jobs, for more information GO HERE.