Making a Business of Your Writing Skills

You’ve always loved to write, and you think you’ve got good skills, some creativity, and solid understanding of the various types of writing.  Now, you’ve decided to make a living doing it.  Good for you!  There is a great career in store for you as a freelance writer if you do it right, build your business with care, and commit to the responsibilities that it entails.

Getting Started – Take Anything!

A plumber, starting his own business, takes any job s/he can find, no matter how simple and no matter how small the payment may be.  You must begin the same way, finding and taking any writing task you can find.  There are a few things that you can do to be pro-active, however:

  1. Perform a Google search for freelance writing opportunities.  You will find a lot of writing clearinghouses that want you to pay a registration fee.  They will promise you the “moon,” but don’t believe it.  Find the sites that allow you to register and establish a basic profile.  Usually you will then be sent opportunities, upon which you may bid.  Do some research on typical pay for novice freelancers (usually a few cents per word) and bid accordingly.  Many people have begun this way and have developed rather permanent relationships with clients.
  2. Take the time to complete applications and take the examinations that many writing clearinghouse sites will require.  You need to have your name on as many of these sites as possible.  Some will publish writing opportunities daily, and you simply accept the ones you want and complete them with professionalism and according to the deadline.
  3. Check Craigslist regularly.  They have two categories for writing/editing, and you should apply for any opportunity for which you may be qualified.
  4. Over time, you will “pick up” writing opportunities by referral.  Always take the assignments offered, and be willing to put in long hours to meet any client’s deadline.  You can always sleep when the job is completed.  Many of your clients may be foreign – they don’t care about your time zone.  Work with theirs!

Train Yourself – Become More Marketable

Given the wide variety of web-based writing opportunities, you need to embark on an independent learning process.  Familiarize yourself with all of the current writing platforms and tools that online businesses and organizations use – for directory articles, for blogs, for site content, etc.  You cannot learn enough, and this learning must be on-going.  Are you familiar with WordPress and Tumblr? Do you know how social media can be utilized to promote businesses? Do you understand content marketing?  If not, you have a lot to do in between writing jobs!

Time Management – How Organized are You?

It is really enticing to think that you can just work in your PJ’s all day.  Think of the freedom and independence!  If you are not careful, however, it becomes too easy to turn on that television, to check your Facebook page, to retire for a nap, etc.  You cannot compromise your schedule for these things.  A few tips follow:

  1. Have a physical space set aside in your residence for your work – a space that has the “feel” of an office.  You need the psychological mindset of being “at work.”
  2. Set up a schedule that provides for work and for breaks.  Follow that schedule.  If you decide that you will take a break every two hours, stick to it!  And, if you experience downtime, without a writing task, take the time to do some research, enhance your skills, or seek out new business.
  3. Accept the fact that your schedule may be totally uprooted.  A client may have an urgent or rush order.  If that client is important to you, then you must meet the deadline, without exception.  You must be committed to long hours when necessary, even if it means cancelling social engagements.  This is the life of a small business owner!

Payment Options

Your clients may have a variety of methods of payment – check, automatic deposit, etc.  Whenever possible, choose PayPal.  The beauty of PayPal is that, at the end of each year, you can obtain a full detailed accounting of all that you have earned.

Income Reporting for Taxes

Keep careful records of payments, and plan to set aside the appropriate amount for income and payroll taxes.  But do not forget the multitude of deductions that are available to individuals who work out of their homes.  You need to research all of the tax law and regulations that relate to your situation or find a tax preparer that is really skilled in self-employment tax preparation.

A Final Word

Freelance writing can be wonderfully rewarding and can provide the variety that you so want.  If you are careful and steadily build your business, you can enjoy independence and an income that will sustain you quite well!

Bio: Eileen Archer is currently a chief editor at Essay Planet and has researched and written on a number of topics affecting secondary and university students. After obtaining a Masters in English language she decided to dedicate her time to creative writing as well as providing assistance to students.

5 Strategies to Help Small, Local Businesses Increase Inbound Links

Running a small business is a dicey game. It is by no means without its rewards; you get to be your own boss and manage your operation as you see fit, and every success is attributable to your hard work. But you also have to contend with limited funding most of the time, as well as the responsibility of wearing many hats. Even if you’re familiar with the industry that you choose to enter, you’ll still have to handle all manner of tasks that you might not be cut out for, such as accounting, sales, and marketing, just for example. And in this day and age, it simply won’t do to ignore the potential value of an online presence, even if you’re only a small, local business. Nearly everyone looks online these days rather than using the Yellow Pages, so if you don’t build a website and start to optimize, chances are good that consumers will never find you. As part of the package, you’ll want to find ways to get inbound links that direct interested parties toward your website. Here are just a few ways to secure the virtual arrows that will point people your way.

  1. Killer content. In a post-Penguin world, content is of the utmost importance anyway when it comes to optimization. Google’s current algorithm is designed to ensure that the websites getting top placement for searches are actually providing the engaging and informative content users expect, rather than the keyword-stuffed articles of old that were meant to bring in traffic while delivering little value for visitors. But there’s an even better reason for providing stellar content than sating Google’s search bots: you want to impress those who come to your site. When you provide the value that consumers are seeking via your websites, blog, social media, and so on, you increase the opportunities for sharing, and this will help to increase the inbound links you seek.
  2. Easy-to-share items. Massive blocks of text may be the most comprehensive means of delivering information, but they are in no way the most efficient, nor are they particularly attractive. The long and short of it is that you need to provide bite-sized snippets of information that are easy to share if you want to encourage visitors to spread your content to contacts online. By creating self-contained content through graphics, infographics, and videos, for example, you can offer customers the easy-to-share content they crave. And embedded links will lead straight back to you.
  3. Social media profiles. Social media plays a major role in sharing, so you really can’t afford to let it fall by the wayside. That said, you must treat your profiles like any other professional venue. Despite the fact that they are terribly casual, social media outlets provide you with an opportunity to reach out and connect with prospective customers. But they also give you a way to offer sharable content, and that’s where your inbound links will start to multiply.
  4. Participate in the online community. There’s a lot to be said for networking, especially in the online arena. So sign up for forums, comment on blogs, and see if you can get some patronage and collaboration going within your virtual community of peers. Participation can go a long way towards netting you additional links.
  5. PPC services. You might not be keen on the idea of paying for links, but when you run a small business you’re either expending time or money, and most of your time must be devoted to your operations. Luckily, there are some strategies for building a web of inbound links that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. And pay-per-click services may qualify. Getting listed with directories is another good option for the business on a budget.

3 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Site on Customer Service Alone

1. User Friendly

If someone comes across your website and doesn’t find it to be user friendly, they can simply find another site similar to yours that they like better. Make your site user friendly by offering the following:

a. Quick Load time: Create an updated browser that offers fast load time so your internet users aren’t left feeling frustrated as they wait for pictures to load. How can you reduce your websites load time? Easy—just have fewer and smaller images. Images take more time to load than text and although valuable, they need to be uploaded correctly.

b. Mobile Availability: Having a mobile version of your website will allow your customers to view your site no matter where they are: school, work, traveling, or out to dinner!

c. Online Payment: If your company is involved in retail, be sure to allow online payments. This cannot be emphasized enough when it comes to customer service because if customers can’t purchase their stuff online they won’t want to come back to your site.

2. Online Surveys and Representatives

Online surveys are a great way to show your customers that you care. They allow customers to give honest feedback in a setting that won’t modify their true feelings about your business or product. If customers know that their online surveys are being read, documented, and considered they will feel validated in a way that will make them wanting to come back for more.

It may sound overrated but having online representatives available to answer questions 24/7 will let your clients know that you want them to feel like their concerns are being heard and their questions are being answered. Whatever customers have to do in order to never be put on hold by another customer service representative again, they will do.

Another great thing about online representatives is that they have virtually all the answers literally at their fingertips. So no customer’s questions will go unanswered!

3. Social Media

Nothing is worse than a company that doesn’t address their customers concerns. Engage with your clients on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Not only will additional links to directly answer customers’ questions boost your company’s SEO but it is also a great way for individual questions to be answered; when answering customers’ questions be sure to link them back to your company’s site in order to answer their questions. Social media is also a great way for conversations to be sparked amongst you and your customers—leading to relationship and link building!

 

Jake Magleby has written extensively about effective marketing, sales, and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. He also has an interest in education and development.

What You Don’t Know About Web Hosting Could Cost You

Making a decision on web hosting plans and companies can be challenging. There are a number of important aspects to consider in order to make an informed choice. Below are some issues to be aware of that can determine the success of any website.

1. Programming Language – Programming languages need to support site goals. Because programming code scripts will be the building blocks upon which the website is built, only the most effective programming languages will do. Many programs are tied specifically to different web applications, so it is important to understand how these technical aspects will work with what is planned to be on the site.

2. Downtime – Server downtime can greatly hurt SEO rankings and thus, the online business. In order to avoid this, the site needs to support the highest load times possible. If visitors are not able to quickly access the information they are seeking, there is a strong chance that they will leave the site. Therefore, no site can benefit from host servers that regularly experience significant downtime.

3. Technical Aspects – In order to make the best decisions, business owners need to fully determine what the purpose of the site will be and how much bandwidth is needed. For instance, a blog has very different requirements than an e-commerce site. Rich content with videos requires a more comprehensive hosting plan along with managed hosting to ensure that all technical aspects are met.

4. Control Panel – It is important to ensure that all of the features required will be available. For instance, cPanel web hosting includes all of the main aspects that web business owners need in order to have an effective web presence, such as:

E-mail
Backup
Files
CGI scripts
FTP

The cPanel solution can also create http redirects, custom error pages and spam filters. It also includes more than enough disk space capacity with affordable and reliable hosting management. Also, if you don’t like your host’s control panel, companies like www.roboshift.com allow you to purchase your own cPanel license.

5. IP Address – The host’s IP address can have an impact on search engine optimization (SEO). This is something that few new and even seasoned website owners consider. Due to Global Positioning Systems (GPS), web businesses now have the ability to estimate geographical locations. This makes it possible for companies to reach out to customers looking for their products and services, based upon their location. This is why a host’s location can have an impact in terms of local and mobile marketing.

6. Shared Hosting – Many small businesses choose to start out on a shared hosting network to save on costs. Site owners should understand that some shared plans could require that growing sites migrate to larger plans. Depending upon the web host, this can involve a relatively easy process or one that requires a whole new website. In that case, the business could lose a great deal of the web traffic it has been attracting in its existing form.

The bottom line when it comes to choosing a web host is that proposed site owners need to conduct thorough due diligence. That is the only way that they will fully understand what comes with each hosting plan, what the capacities are and whether the hosting provider can accommodate all of the most important aspects required for the business.

 

About the guest author: Shelby Warden is a researcher who shares this information to help business owners create a solid online presence. As an authorized cPanel distributor, www.roboshift.com provides businesses with their own cPanel license at better prices than the manufacturer offers directly. cPanel (and the WebHostManager backend) continues to be the leading web hosting server control panel.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Don’t DIY When It Comes To SEO

Small businesses commonly make many of the same mistakes when it comes to their online presence. When you are working with minimal dollars it’s easy to think do-it-yourself (DIY). However, when it comes to your brand, DIY is not always the way to go.

Having an online presence is extremely important in today’s business world. However, having a website or a social media account means little if you are not optimizing every opportunity they present.

How do you optimize opportunities online? By optimizing your presence itself.

Who and Where Are You?

What is your websites Google ranking? If you have a page rank of “1” or less (Gasp!), you have a problem. A website or profile is no good if no one can find it! Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just the latest catch-phrase, it’s the Holy Grail for online success and if you are not embracing it, then you are harming – yes harming, your business.

But wait! Don’t jump up and think you can fix the problem lickety-split. Do you even know what SEO is and how to achieve it?

“I have a friend who…”

If you have a friend or family member that is willing to help you out with some nerd tech, great, but are they really skilled at what you need? Do you even know what you need? Will they do it in a timely manner? And, will they maintain and update it as needed or do you have to? Do you have the time to?

These are all important questions. What you think you are saving by having a freebie done may cost you exposure, reputation, business, and yes, even dollars in the end.

“The sales rep said…”

Web designers are business people. It doesn’t matter how much they love what they do, they are still out to make a buck just like you. Don’t fall into the complacency trap. Take an active role in the foundation of your Internet success.

Learn about page rank and optimization. Learn about your unique client or customer, learn more about your industry and your locale. All of these things will help you better direct and manage your web designer or host when it comes to increasing your SEO.

“I put offers on my FaceBook page, but…”

You gave up after putting a “two-for-one” offer on FaceBook right? And when you Tweeted news of your “3-Day Sale” no one showed up. It happens. Actually, it happens all of the time because people who do not know how to use social media — through engagement in lieu of advertising, will never impact their connection or follower.

Your FaceBook wall is not the place to run a coupon. It’s a place for constant contact; constant engagement that requires constant (or at least consistent) attention.

You cannot play “hit or miss” with social media. You have to own it.

“I know it’s important, but I just don’t have the time…”

Face it, you need a good Search Engine Optimization company to take you to the next level. It’s OK. You are far from being alone.

Laying the foundation for SEO takes a lot of time as does its upkeep. SEO is not something you can do once and walk away. It is something that takes a constant application of time, skills, and creativity in addition to some little media savvy. An SEO expert can have you ranking at least a “2” in no time!

 

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Latest Trends In Making Money Online 2013

The market is changing every day, what used to be true about online income a few years back, is now evolved, the reason is that  technology itself, the tools one uses to perform day to day tasks are evolving, and so are the needs of job providers.

There is however still room for established practices which one can follow to generate a good and strong income online.

Online Income – Two Schools of Thought

When one talks about online income, one must know there are many online platforms that one can go to, to communicate with providers and offer services, but if in case providing services is not your cup of tea, you can certainly go ahead and build a passive income model, both situations it totally depends on you, generally as a rule of thumb once you decide on being an Entrepreneur in the digital world, the first freedom you get is for your time, and the second the amount of energy you invest and the returns you reap are totally your own.

You can build Income in Two Modes

  • Active Income ( Service oriented )
  • Passive Income ( Platform Oriented )

When we talk about active income we are talking about a service providing system, you offer deliverable services to clients and generate income, it’s the traditional way of making money online, which has been time tested and has been the foundation for success for many Individuals and companies.

Following are some forms of Active Income

  • Web Designing
  • Software Development
  • Content Writing
  • Graphics Designing
  • Virtual Assistant Services
    Transcription

Here are some websites where one can go to find jobs for Active Income

The list goes on, as there are many platforms to choose from but the one’s mentioned here are the best and most secure when it comes to securing jobs online.

Passive Income

Passive income is the emerging trend of 2013; most people are interested in developing passive income systems which are client independent and generate constant income without a lot of investment of time and effort other than setting it up.

There have been many scams perpetrated in the name of passive income, in the past people have fallen prey to preachers and coaches who claimed they had a “solution” to develop online income, gradually though with the bulk of people interested in creating passive income, a lot of people stumbled onto the process through trial and error, eventually the right knowledge was shared and now it’s not a secret anymore.

The key is simple. Passive income is not just a single activity, it involves working around a complete plan, it takes effort to set up but in the end the income streams only need a little bit of managing and offer long term revenue much higher than the investment of time and effort and money it takes to set up these passive income systems.

Passive income systems generally revolve around the following key elements

  • Blogging
  • E-Books
  • Podcasts
  • Mass Communication
  • SEO

How it works is that you first you understand what you are really good at, say for example your own hobby or an idea you know can add value to the common man, the next step is developing the niche. Building a blog, and implementing best SEO practices to get the targeted traffic on your website, and developing products such as EBooks, and Manuals, or linking to Affiliate products, advertisements through Google Adwords or other channels.

Once a portal is set up and optimized, traffic will naturally fall into line, and over time, from the steady stream of directed, niche, interested traffic, you will encounter buyers who will be interested in your product and will buy.

You can set up such a system from the comfort of your home, but be warned, these kinds of projects are not developed in a day, so be sure to keep your day job when planning on developing a project.

 

About the guest author: Maria Bennett is a guest blogger for NextDayFlyers , an online printing company where you can order custom postcards, brochures, flyers and more for your small business. Their prices are great and quality is top-notch.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

SEO With Value: Why Optimized Content is Not Enough!

You spend hours optimizing your blog post for those sweet sweet keywords you found in the Google keyword tool. You may ask yourself some questions like:

Did I mention my keyword/phrase in my page title?

What about my image alt tags and the url?

Does my meta title and description have some emotional or witty phrase to entice more clicks?

These questions and more are the nuts and bolts of any great on page optimization for practical SEO. Checking all of these off the list might shoot your straight to the first page, and maybe even the top three!

You are getting hundreds, maybe even thousands of clicks a day for your recent content. That’s great right?

Well what is your bounce rate?

How many comments are you getting?

What about your social shares or just link shares in general?

These questions are great indicators of valuable (and not so valuable) content.

Well Okay, So What is “Valuable Content”

If you are ashamed to share your 90% bounce rate, one spam comment, and no Facebook shares on your blog post from a couple months back, you might need to add some value to that content of yours! Well what exactly is valuable content?

Valuable content is:

  • Helpful – It makes a difference, it answers a genuine question.
  • < rel="nofollow"href="http://switchedonmedia.com.au/blog/content-marketing-entertaining-content/" target="_blank">Entertaining – Provokes a reaction. Smile, laugh, or think – people respond to it and want to share it.
  • Authentic – Genuine and original.
  • < rel="nofollow"href="http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/05/content-marketing-relevant-to-buyers/" target="_blank">Relevant–  It is rooted firmly in the reader’s world, it makes perfect sense.
  • Timely – it is sent out at the right time, it hits the audience when they are most receptive.

Quite simply, valuable is content is content that you are writing yourself and sharing as an expert in the topic you are discussing that answers a question or concern. This content is relevant, authentic and original while adding a bit of spice to your words and a bit of emotion to your thoughts.

Still unsure about what valuable content is? Well write these on the chalkboard a hundred times!

Valuable content IS NOT snippets of information that you Googled across the web and spun the words around a bit to change the content to appear to be an authority on a subject.

Valuable content IS NOT dry and boring content that does not answer a question or provide original and intuitive thoughts.

Valuable content IS NOT a “Top Ten List”

Valuable content IS NOT a funny picture you found on the web (Unless it is kittens)

Valuable content IS NOT a summary of someone else’s original and insight blog post.

I Think I Feel What Your Preaching, But What Are Some Examples of Valuable Content?

Glad you asked! Writing valuable content is easier than you think! Let me give you an example from my experience. In fact this is the moment I realized that I need to start writing about valuable content and worrying less about what keywords I am optimizing for.

Last year I was looking to increase traffic to my blog so I wrote about what anyone looking to increase their traffic. I wrote about the iPhone 5!

You see I found this nice little gem of a keyword, “Is The Iphone5 Worth It?”. This workhorse of a keyword had 40,000 searches a month alone, and nobody was using it!

So I wrote an article about the iPhone 5, and man was it crap! I Googled some reviews for information and combined it all together and called it my own. I cleverly placed my keyword and the article made it to #1 in Google in no time, and the traffic was pouring in. And so was the high bounce rate!

The comments, however, were not rolling in.

I thought it was a huge success at the time, but looking back, no one shared it. No one commented on it. Hell, I don’t even think anyone read it.

This content was crap (and I knew it)!

Now let me tell you about an article I did write and I am not embarrassed to say it! I wrote an article back last summer about HTML5 Video Backgrounds. Turned out, I came up with lightweight and easy to use CSS that gives a great Video Background for a website. No one was talking about it, so I decided to share it.

People loved it! I get quite a few comments on it, and people are sharing it! It does not get me a ton of traffic, but the readers are finding the answer they are looking for, and they are grateful for it! These happy readers actually check out my website instead of hitting the back button. All is well!

Turns out this article made it to the top three on Google for searches like “HTML5 Video Background” and I didn’t even have to try. Better yet I am the cool guy helping cool people like yourself build an awesome video background website.

That’s cool! That makes me happy! That makes my readers happy!

These readers are giving me those sweet backlinks and social shares!

Im Convinced! Valuable Content is the Way to Go!

I’m glad you feel that way! Writing awesome content that solves the world’s problems is awesome. It’s cool. You are like a super hero on the internet and that will make you happy! It will make your readers happy! It will make me happy!

As Google gets better and better figuring out what a page on a website is about, they will get better and better at weeding out the crap. Do yourself a favor and start writing content with the future in mind. Content your Mom would be proud of and your readers will share!

Keep calm and write with value!

 

About the guest author: Tim Carpenter is a Web Designer by day and an awesome SEO by night. He specializes in helping other small business get online, get found, and look great doing it. His company, Kesil Consulting, specializes in Cincinnati SEO services. You can also connect with Tim via Google+.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Choose the Payment Gateway for your Online Business

So, you’ve taken the plunge and are looking to start up an online business of your own? Well done, the hard work and hopefully the rewards are just around the corner.

Now, unless you are using the site as an online brochure or are planning on selling via EBay one of the more important decisions to be made is the method of taking payment. There are a few options out there:

Externally branded

One solution used by many companies both big and small is the externally branded payment solution. Using these services you are effectively piggybacking on the branding of a larger company, utilising their customer trust as well as their card processing system. So who are the main players?

PayPal

There is nothing as good for building trust as familiarity and the word many people associate with internet payments is PayPal, the world’s most widely used payment acquirer. The European arm of the company is based in Luxembourg and is responsible for processing over $4 billion in payments in 2011.

Google Checkout
With its ever growing brand awareness there can be few people left outside of China who have not heard of the Mountain View, California based company. Given the overarching reach of the brand it should come as little surprise that the company offers a payment system alongside its other services such as email.

Amazon Payments

Amazon is another large company providing checkout services outside its own business. The option is offered by online watch specialist The Watch Hut amongst others.

Surprisingly there seems to be little competition between Google and Paypal and Amazon. The three groups seem to have a remarkably similar payment structure offering services from 3.4% and 20p per transaction down to 1.4% per transaction for bigger clients, although Amazon do seem to be changing their charging structure over the coming months.

B2B services

These operators are here to process your payments, they are ideal if you are operating a site and don’t want to associate yourself with a bigger name or wish to handle all the various dispatch and refunding options through your own in house systems.

World Pay

World Pay was originally and offshoot of the Royal Bank of Scotland Streamline service, but is now owned by another operator. It processes around 12 million transactions per day and can handle up to 200 simultaneous transactions per client.

However that speed and flexibility comes at a price that may be too much for the small business to bear. A number of packages are available, however the company’s preferred package, Business Gateway Plus cost £75 to set up, £15 per month and an additional charge per transaction of 1.9 and 10p per transaction.

Sage Pay

The Sage Pay branding has huge recognition in the business to business world as it is an offshoot of the Sage Accounting. The UK based company provides a system that can be linked in to a site, as well as back office tools to process payments and refunds. This may be a good solution for an online site that is taking payments over the phone as part of the functionality allows cards to be processed as part of a ‘Card not Present’ transaction.

The company does not charge set up fees or annual charges, but this is partly offset by its £25 a month fee for the first 1000 transactions per quarter. Over that price, the company charges 10p per transaction made. There are no percentage fees.

 

Overall, there is no right answer to the type of system you choose to use as long as its secure and matches the needs of your business. The best advice, particularly for start ups is to pick carefully, make sure integration with your systems is easy and the solutions is scalable without taking on extra cost. If you meet those requirements, then you are on to a winner.

 

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

SEO Tools to Measure Success of Small Businesses

Measuring the health of your business requires more acumen than being successful itself. Success can come if you do some savvy tricks or invest big in a targeted campaign. More important than short term success however is more about staying where you have got to. For most, analysis simple means looking at the profits and feeling satisfied, but that there was enough profit this year doesn’t mean it is going to be that way the next year or the year after. Measuring success is there for a constant process, just as important as marketing and profitability itself is.

Measuring success is not only about comparing numbers and figures and charts, but also about knowing where your small business is heading. In enterprise level organization, special teams of experts take care of that, and helping in their endeavor are dozens of others from within and outside. As a small business owner, you cannot expect to employee or hire services of that caliber. Often you will have to depend on hunches and guess work, or even depend on word of mouth to take your business further.

However, there are some tools that you can use to make a near perfect analysis of where your business is heading. Some tools are free and can be downloaded and installed on your computer, for the other ones you will have to pay for the software or services, though they might cost you only the minimum. Here are some tools you may want to try.

  1.  One of the most widely used SEO tool for measuring is Google’s Webmasters Tools. You can gain access to it at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools . Once you are this site log in with your Google ID and password and ever feature will be made available for you to use. The key sections comprise health, Traffic and optimization. The learning curve is longer but worth the time you have to spend. The notable feature that makes Google’s Webmasters Tools the most preferred is it is constantly updated.
  2. Next in order is the Bing Webmaster Tools. It is a little more user friendly than the other. Like Google’s tool, Bing too has a learn curve, though not so demanding. You will find the resources at Bing really great. If you want a deep understanding on how you want to use them, then try the FAQ section first. Before you delve deeper, first read the webmaster guide and then the other sections. The forums and blogs at Bing will also be helpful. You will find the tool at http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster .
  3. Another tool you may want to try is Screaming Frog SEO Spider. Though a free analyzer, Screaming Frog is full of utilities. But what you may not like however is that you will have to be a mathematical genius to do the deciphering. However, if you can do that, or get it done by someone else, SEO optimization will become easier than ever before for you. You can get a copy of the user guide at http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/user-guide/ . FAQ is available at http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/faq/ . Good support is available for Screaming Frog. For downloading the free version go to http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/ .
  4. This lot of tools is especially useful for Inbound Links & Keyword Rankings. You can use them in conjunction with the other tools, though you will not find them helpful individually.
    1. Bread and Butter of SEO at http://www.standingdog.com/blog/tips-for-a-well-balanced-seo-strategy/
    2. Open Site Explorer: http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/
    3. Majestic SEO: http://www.majesticseo.com/
    4. Raven Tools: http://raventools.com/tools/
    5. Advance Web Rankings: http://www.advancedwebranking.com/

Tools, remember, to be effective must be used judiciously. It is always good to consult a professional before you decide on any changes to your website.

 

About the guest author: Andrea Walters, a freelance writer for www.globalx.net – The Nation’s Lowest All-Digital Price Provider. with dish packages

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

Sure-fire SEO Tips for Small Businesses

If you are a small business owner, then what you want for your site is exposure to the several thousands of people, who are keen on buying your product. When people with an interest in the product you offer, visit your site at the right time, it converts to sales and thus revenue. Whether you are a brick and mortar establishment with an online presence or operate exclusively online, the importance of getting the top rankings on Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and the like will hit upon you only when you are aware of the three factors, listed below:

  • Comscore, an Internet analytics company says that 90% of commercial web searches end up in sales at establishments outside the web space.
  • According to the statistics from Kelsey Group, we come to know that 74% searches on search engines are localized.
  • Out of the total local searches done, the output from 61% are direct purchases says Comscore.

Structure Your Website Well

Having a website structure that is technically sound is the foundation for making your small business website search ready. If your website is custom built and not based on a platform, then you should take note of the design, content placement and linking and align it to Search Engine requirements. Good SEO requires genuine websites with real content, and developing a style statement is only a secondary objective.

Search Engines prefer clear content rather than content being represented in flash. Include a site map and make the navigation easy to use. When a person on the lookout for a product comes to your business site and reads the information, the navigation process should breeze the visitor through the necessary details and prompt him or her to make the purchase or walk-in to your store, immediately.

If your business calls for a localized search optimization, registering with Google Places is a good idea. This brings visibility in localized searches and adds to the local flavor of your business. Manage your Google Places page by building the right local network and getting reviews that leave a mark.

Get Your Keyword Strategy Right

  • Brainstorm with partners, friends, family and analyze market data to come up with keywords that indicate your business and that which interested people will search. This is step one in arriving at a set of keywords.
  • Generate keywords after running experimental search queries. If the keyword chosen is ranked lower, but has very low competition, then that should be a good target. You can also get some that rank higher but relate well to your business.
  • Great care should be taken when including keywords in the content. Priority should be given to clear, precise, readable content and not stuff it with the keywords. This is a sure fire tip for higher Search Engine rankings. Keep in mind the latest Google Panda updates for developing a high quality website.

Create a Social Media Space for Your Business

Being active in Social media and involving your business in Social media marketing efforts will prove beneficial in the long-run. It also adds up to creating social signals that help improve the reputation of your business.

Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube are great places to start socializing with customers, partners, affiliates and the general public. Keep track of any comments and posts on your business, encourage conversations, and moderate. Get your satisfied customers to write testimonials and reviews about the products and services offered by you and the also about their experiences in doing business with you.

Increase the credibility of your Small Business by strengthening your online presence. This will not only help you get a good Search Engine ranking it would also result in increased brand awareness amidst your customer segment.

 

About the guest author: Andrea Walters, a freelance writer for www.satellitesales.com – The Lowest-Priced Satellite TV in America. with dish network channels