|by Brian Clark|
So, you’re seeing too many of those “how to” and list headlines, and want to try a few different angles?
Let’s move beyond those common headline formulas you see over and over, and add some new blood to your attention-grabbing arsenal.
1. Who Else Wants [blank]?
Starting a headline with “Who Else Wants…” is a classic social proof strategy that implies an already existing consensus desire. While overused in the Internet marketing arena, it still works like gangbusters for other subject matter.
Who Else Wants a Great Blog Template Design?
Who Else Wants a Higher Paying Job?
Who Else Wants More Fun and Less Stress When on Vacation?
2. The Secret of [blank]
This one is used quite a bit, but that’s because it works. Share insider knowledge and translate it into a benefit for the reader.
The Secret of Successful Podcasting
The Secret of Protecting Your Assets in Litigation
The Secret of Getting Your Home Loan Approved
3. Here is a Method That is Helping [blank] to [blank]
Simply identify your target audience and the benefit you can provide them, and fill in the blanks.
Here is a Method That is Helping Homeowners Save Hundreds on Insurance
Here is a Method That is Helping Children Learn to Read Sooner
Here is a Method That is Helping Bloggers Write Better Post Titles
4. Little Known Ways to [blank]
A more intriguing (and less common) way of accomplishing the same thing as “The Secret of…” headline.
Little Known Ways to Save on Your Heating Bill
Little Known Ways to Hack Google’s Gmail
Little Known Ways to Lose Weight Quickly and Safely
5. Get Rid of [problem] Once and For All
A classic formula that identifies either a painful problem or an unfulfilled desire that the reader wants to remedy.
Get Rid of Your Unproductive Work Habits Once and For All
Get Rid of That Carpet Stain Once and For All
Get Rid of That Lame Mullet Hairdo Once and For All
6. Here’s a Quick Way to [solve a problem]
People love quick and easy when it comes to solving a nagging problem.
Here’s a Quick Way to Get Over a Cold
Here’s a Quick Way to Potty Train Junior
Here’s a Quick Way to Backup Your Hard Drive
7. Now You Can Have [something desirable] [great circumstance]
The is the classic “have your cake and eat it too” headline — and who doesn’t like that?
Now You Can Quit Your Job and Make Even More Money
Now You Can Meet Sexy Singles Online Without Spending a Dime
Now You Can Own a Cool Mac and Still Run Windows
8. [Do something] like [world-class example]
Gatorade milked this one fully with the “Be Like Mike” campaign featuring Michael Jordan in the early 1990s.
Speak Spanish Like a Diplomat
Party Like Paris Hilton
Blog Like an A-Lister
9. Have a [or] Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of
Appeal to vanity, dissatisfaction, or shame. Enough said.
Build a Body You Can Be Proud Of
Have a Smile You Can Be Proud Of
Build a Blog Network You Can Be Proud Of
10. What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
Big curiosity draw with this type of headline, and it acts almost as a challenge to the reader to go ahead and see if they are missing something.
What Everybody Ought to Know About ASP
What Everybody Ought to Know About Adjustable Rate Mortgages
What Everybody Ought to Know About Writing Great Headlines
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Adsense is one of the most common revenue generators for blogs and websites. Usually you can drastically improve your click-through rate and overall earnings by positioning the ads wisely, by improving the content targeting or by optimizing the ad units directly. Below I will cover the last point, how to optimize the Adsense units with 8 simple tips:
- The three top performing ad units are: 336×280 large rectangle, 300×250 inline rectangle and 160×600 wide skyscraper. Consider using those units if possible, but bear in mind that other formats might be more suitable for your website design.
- The most successful link color is blue. This fact is connected with the roots of the Internet where all major websites used to feature blue links.
- Apart from blue links you can also use a link color that matches the pattern of your website (i.e. If you use green links make the Adsense links of the same color).
- As a general rule of thumb, blend (no border, same background) your Adsense units if your website has a light color scheme and contrast (border, contrasting background) the units if you are using a dark color scheme
- If the ads are placed within the content you should avoid using borders while ad units outside of the content can use borders to call attention.
- If your website has mainly repeat visitors (like Forums) you can rotate the background color of the units to reduce ad blindness
- Consider removing the “Advertise on this site” message from your units. This can be done on the control panel under the “My Account” section, disabling the “Onsite Advertiser Sign-Up” feature.
- Test, test and test. Every website is unique so make sure you test with different colors and formats and track the results to fine tune your Adsense units.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Almost without thinking, web surfers (more specifically web searchers) will pop open their search engine and type in something like 'evening gown'. As this is their first thought, it should also be yours. Does your web site contain the words and phrases that web searchers are using to find your products and services? Are those words found on your website many, many times, only a few times, or not at all?
On regular intervals search engines crawl the web, reading and collecting information on the sites they come across. As they come across your website, they look for what the most frequently used words are phrases are to determine just what it is that your web site is all about. The better your web site does at effectively using the phrases that are being searched, the higher up the list your web site will be displayed on web searches. If your web site's content does not match what is being searched, it will not be found. It is a simple as that.
It should be clear by now that you should be starting to put together a list of keyword phrases to include within your web site. This list should include your products and services and any related items. There are many people searching for dresses as you are reading these words. Do they all use the exactly same phrases - of course not. Your mission is to discover as many of these phrases as possible and which phrases or words are used most frequently. The list should be prioritized based on which words are used in searches most frequently.
Brainstorm. Sit and think about what your web site is really all about. Close your eyes and picture your website as a store with customers looking around. What are they looking for? What are they asking you for? "Excuse me, I'm looking for a...”
Think about which words relate to your products and services. What is another name for dress - a gown, evening gown, sun-dress, a cute black dress, etc.
Be sure to ask family and friends, and clients and associates. Which phrases or words might they use when looking for your products and services? You are soon to discover a pattern. The most commonly used search terms will start to emerge.
Which keywords do high end competing web sites use, that carry products and services that are similar to yours? Their research may save you some of your own.
Pretend to be different types of customers. Be a customer that knows exactly what they want and jot that down. Also be the customer that is just looking around, or looking for ideas. This second customer may use more generic terms, while the first customer may refer to specific items. What other types of shoppers can you pretend to be? What about a wealthy shopper versus a bargain hunter?
Are some of the words on your list often misspelled? If so make sure to jot down the incorrect spelling as well. Poor spellers also have money to spend.
Are your products or services focused on a specific geographical location? If so, be sure to jot down the neighborhood, quadrant, city, state, and even country. A visitor may not want to drive too far from home and may therefore search for 'dresses in south Dallas'.Also be sure to include the different variations of your selected keywords - for example: dress and dresses.
Remember to keep a balance between keeping your pages readable by both visitors and search engines. An over-optimized page will include many, many keywords which will improve your positioning with search engines, but may sound like nonsense and unprofessional to a real human visitor. Don’t turn away potential customers after they’ve found you. Some search engines have been known to punish web sites that attempt to trick the system with keyword spamming on their web pages.
Now its time to get to work. Use these ideas in this article to optimize your web site's content. Be sure to include the words and phrases that your potential visitors have in mind. Don't forget about your web site's title and description meta tags, which are only read by search engines. With some hard work and careful analysis you'll be sure to see a lot more traffic in your future.
Article Source: http://www.superfeature.com
Saturday, April 4, 2009
- Do not purchase a new domain unless you have to. The search engines put a lot of stock in how long your website and domain have been around. While you can purchase a new domain and redirect your old one to the new one, your best bet is to use your existing domain/website if at all possible. If you're redesigning or starting from scratch and you have to use a brand-new domain for some reason, you can expect at least somewhat of a loss in search engine traffic. It could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months or more.
- Optimize your site for your target audience, not for the search engines. This may sound counterintuitive, but hear me out. The search engines are looking for pages that best fit the keyword phrase someone types into their little search box. If those "someones" are typing in search words that relate to what your site offers, then they are most likely members of your target audience. You need to optimize your site to meet *their* needs. If you don't know who your target audience is, then you need to find out one way or another. Look for studies online that might provide demographic information, and visit other sites, communities, or forums where your target audience might hang out and listen to what they discuss. This information will be crucial to your resulting website design, keyword research, and copywriting.
- Research your keyword phrases extensively. The phrases you think your target market might be searching for may very well be incorrect. To find the optimal phrases to optimize for, use research tools such as KeywordDiscovery, Wordtracker or Google's Keyword Tool. Compile lists of the most relevant phrases for your site, and choose a few different ones for every page. Never shoot for general keywords such as "travel" or "vacation," as they are rarely (if ever) indicative of what your site is really about.
- Design and categorize your site architecture and navigation based on your keyword research. Your research may uncover undiscovered areas of interest or ways of categorizing your products/services that you may wish to add to your site. For instance, let's say your site sells toys. There are numerous ways you could categorize and lay out your site so that people will find the toys they're looking for. Are people looking for toys to fit their child's stage of development? (Look for keyword phrases such as "preschool toys.") Or are they more likely to be seeking specific brands of toys? Most likely, your keyword research will show you that people are looking for toys in many different ways. Your job is to make sure that your site's navigation showcases the various ways of searching. Make sure you have links to specific-brand pages as well as specific age ranges, specific types of toys, etc.
- Label your internal text links and clickable image alt attributes (aka alt tags) as clearly and descriptively as possible. Your site visitors and the search engines look at the clickable portion of your links (aka the anchor text) to help them understand what they're going to find once they click through. Don't make them guess what's at the other end with links that say "click here" or other non-descriptive words. Be as descriptive as possible with every text and graphical link on your site. The cool thing about writing your anchor text and alt attributes to be descriptive is that you can almost always describe the page you're pointing to by using its main keyword phrase.
- Write compelling copy for the key pages of your site based on your chosen keyword phrases and your target market's needs, and make sure it's copy that the search engines can "see." This is a crucial component to having a successful website. The search engines need to read keyword-rich copy on your pages so they can understand how to classify your site. This copy shouldn't be buried in graphics or hidden in Flash. Write your copy based on your most relevant keyword phrases while also making an emotional connection with your site visitor. (This is where that target audience analysis comes in handy!) Understand that there is no magical number of words per page or number of times to use your phrases in your copy. The important thing is to use your keyword phrases only when and where it makes sense to do so for the real people reading your pages. Simply sticking keyword phrases at the top of the page for no apparent reason isn't going to cut it, and it just looks silly. (Purchase and read our Copywriting Combo for exact tips on how to implement this correctly.)
- Incorporate your keyword phrases into each page's unique Title tag. Title tags are critical because they're given a lot of weight with every search engine. Whatever keyword phrases you've written your copy around should also be used in your Title tag. Remember that the information that you place in this tag is what will show up as the clickable link to your site at the search engines. Make sure that it accurately reflects the content of the page it's on, while also using the keyword phrases people might be using at a search engine to find your stuff.
- Make sure your site is "link-worthy." Other sites linking to yours is a critical component of a successful search engine optimization campaign, as all of the major search engines place a good deal of emphasis on your site's overall link popularity. You can go out and request hundreds or thousands of links, but if your site stinks, why would anyone want to link to it? On the other hand, if your site is full of wonderful, useful information, other sites will naturally link to it without your even asking. It's fine to trade links; just make sure you are providing your site visitors with only the highest quality of related sites. When you link to lousy sites, keep in mind what this says to your site visitors as well as to the search engines.
- Don't be married to any one keyword phrase or worried too much about rankings. If you've done the above 9 things correctly, you will start to see an increase in targeted search engine visitors to your site fairly quickly. Forget about where you rank for any specific keyword phrase and instead measure your results in increased traffic, sales, and conversions. (You can sign up for a Google Analytics for free, which easily tracks and measures those things that truly matter.) It certainly won't hurt to add new content to your site if it will really make your site more useful, but don't simply add a load of fluff just for the sake of adding something. It really is okay to have a business site that is just a business site and not a diatribe on the history of your products. Neither your site visitors nor the engines really give a hoot!
Friday, April 3, 2009
1. Have an “Advertise with Us” Banner on your site
This is the single most important issue. It should click to an Advertising information page and have an easy way to contact you for more information and rates. Key points: Make it a graphical image or a tab. Keep it above the fold.
2. Keep the ads on your site specific to your site
Don’t have smiley ads and wallpaper ads if your site is site is about mobile phones.
3. Show them the banners
If you currently have no paid placements on your site, put up house ads or partner ads in the same spot you would run a paid spot. (A house ad refers to banners for other products or sites that you or your company own)
4. Throw up a free bonus ad.
By putting a free advertisement on your site, you may not only encourage similar ads or competitors to that product, but the company you added for free may decide to advertise with you. Ask for full disclosure of the performance of the campaign in return. (Total clicks, total purchases etc. ) Key points. Put the free bonus up with a direct URL without tracking tags or affiliate tags.
5. Show your site stats.
You need to show at least the basics for site statical information: Monthly unique visitors and total number of impressions are the 2 key ones. Other less important can be Google PR & Alexa rank.
6. User demographic information. Know your audience.
The bare minimum is Male/Female % and average age of your readers. Other potentially useful information includes geographic, HHI, single/married, number of kids. etc. How do you get this info? You can do site polls, survey’s, or get more detailed stats from ComScore or Quantcast.com
7. Have an ‘About Us’ section.
Clearly explain who you are and what your site is about. And also why you are an ‘authority’ on what you are writing about, and why anyone should care about what you have to say.
8. Don’t use Google AdSense on your site.
OK, this could be the most painful one for most people especially if you are generating a few hundred bucks a month from it already. But Google ad sense devalues your site and makes it look unprofessional. You have to ask yourself, “Do I want some real revenue from my site or Google’s table scraps.”
9. Keep your blog on topic.
If you are all over the map in regards to topics about which you talk about, advertisers won’t know if they are a good fit for your site.
10. Keep your blog professional.
If you are talking about your cat, (Matt Cutts), ranting about your drive to work, swearing or bashing every product you can think about, it will scare away advertisers.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
|Although the blogosphere is a new space on the web, it is starting to become a crowded. Millions of bloggers are writing on a daily basis and many of them are writing on similar topics. Because of the sheer number of blogs fighting for the same eyeballs, it is becoming harder to become popular, so the question is how do you make your blog stand out from the rest?|
Most blogs have 1 major thing in common, they are content centric. Content is going to get new visitors to your blog and keep your old readers reading. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing blog posts.
Write quality content that readers can benefit from. If people cannot get something out of your content, what's the point of them reading your blog?
Write on a consistent basis. There is nothing wrong with blogging on a daily, weekly or even on a monthly basis, but whatever your blogging schedule is, try to keep it consistent.
Participate in conversations, it allows you to give your input on the latest happenings. This is also a great way to gain readers from other blogs.
Keep your content short and to the point. Om Malik once said that it is better to write something in 500 words than 1000 words. Readers are also less likely to read a 1000 word post compared to a 500 word post.
Steve Krug wrote a book called Don't Make Me Think and that's exactly what you should be aiming for when visitors comes to your blog. If they are looking to read your content they should be able to find it and read it with ease. If they want to subscribe to your blog, they should be able to find your RSS feed with ease. Whatever it might be, you want to make it as easy for your readers as possible.
Here are a couple things to keep in mind.
Your website's content should be easy to read as well as easy to navigate.
Make it easy for people to find your content by using categories and by having a search feature on your blog.
Make your RSS subscription button easy to access for anyone looking to read your content from a RSS reader.
Limit the options and features on your blog. Why have tons of features when 90 percent of your visitors only use a handful of them.
Try to avoid technical jargon when possible and when you cannot try to explain the jargon in as few words as possible.
You can have the best blog in the world, but it does not matter if people cannot find it. Use search engines, blog search engines and the social mediums to bring visitors into your blog.
Search engines - Make sure your blog is optimized for search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN...), that way you have a good chance of getting traffic from them. There are many online documents that give step by step instructions on how you can optimize your blog.
Blog search engines - ping the blog search engines through services like Ping-o-matic and Pingoat. That way when you post a new entry people can find it through blog search engines such as Technorati and IceRocket.
Social mediums - Get your content out on sites like digg or del.icio.us. If can manage to get on the digg homepage or on del.icio.us popular you will get thousands of new visitors coming to your website within minutes.
Try to differentiate yourself from your competition. Standing out is not always a bad thing, if your blog stands out from the crowd it will draw more attention and potentially make it more popular. You might be able to do this through tools, videos or even through your content; whatever it may be just try to stand out from everyone else in a good and unique way.
The most important thing that a blogger can do is listen to his/her readers. It is not all about you, it is all about the reader. You can have a great blog, but if you ignore your readers sooner or later they will ignore you and even stop reading your blog. So don't leave your readers stranded, make sure you listen and respond to them. You don't always have to do what they want, but you have to listen.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Only 1 out of every 100 Readers Comment on your Blog
Below I’ll outline 10 ways you can increase the participation rate in the comments section on your blog.
Jakob Nielsen’s latest study finds that 90% of online community users are lurkers (read or observe without contributing) with only 9% of users contributing ‘a little’ and 1% actively contributing.
So 1% of your blog’s users are actively engaging with your blog and the rest are at best occasional contributers.
The study isn’t just on blogging so the actual numbers could be more or less than these and would no doubt vary from site to site anyway - but the principle is true. The vast majority of readers leave a blog without leaving a comment or contributing to it in any way (and some bloggers like it like this and switch comments off - read more on whether to have comments on or off here and the up and downsides of comments on blogs here).
To some extent this is just the way it is and we probably need to just get used to it - however when it comes to comments there are some ways to encourage more interactivity on your blog:
10 Ways to Increase Comment Numbers on Your Blog
1. Invite Comments - I notice that when I specifically invite comments that people leave them in higher numbers than when I don’t. To some degree this confuses me as most of my readers know that they can leave comments on any post - but I guess inviting a comment triggers a response to some extent. Also keep in mind that new readers that are unfamiliar with blogging don’t always know about comments or how to use them - invitations to participate in well laid out and easy to use comments systems are good for helping them participate.
2. Ask Questions - Including specific questions in posts definitely helps get higher numbers of comments. I find that when I include questions in my headings that it is a particularly effective way of getting a response from readers as you set a question in their mind from the first moments of your post.
3. Be Open Ended - If you say everything there is to say on a topic you’re less likely to get others adding their opinions because you’ll have covered what they might have added. While you don’t want to purposely leave too many things unsaid there is an art to writing open ended posts that leaves room for your readers to be experts also.
4. Interact with comments left - If you’re not willing to use your own comments section why would your readers? If someone leaves a comment interact with them. This gets harder as your blog grows but it’s particularly important in the early days of your blog as it shows your readers that their comments are valued, it creates a culture of interactivity and gives the impression to other readers that your comments section is an active place that you as the blogger value. As the activity in your comments section grows you may find you need to be slightly less active in it as readers will start to take over on answering questions and creating community - however don’t completely ignore your comment threads.
5. Set Boundaries - I noticed that shortly after I set the rules for my comments section (with a comments policy) that my comment numbers jumped up a little. I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence or whether readers responded to knowing what was and wasn’t acceptable. It’s just a theory but I think a well managed and moderated comments section that is free of spam and that deals with well with people stepping out of line is an attractive thing to readers. I personally don’t mind people expressing different opinions to one another in comments but when I sense things are getting a little out of hand and too personal I often step in to attempt to bring some order to the situation (I rarely delete non spam comments). I find that people have responded to this and that comment threads generally stay constructive as a result.
6. Be humble - I find that readers respond very well to posts that show your own weaknesses, failings and the gaps in your own knowledge rather than those posts where you come across as knowing everything there is to know on a topic. People are attracted to humility and are more likely to respond to it than a post written in a tone of someone who might harshly respond to their comments.
7. Be gracious - Related to humility is grace. There are times where you as the blogger will get something wrong in your posts. It might be spelling or grammar, it could be the crux of your argument or some other aspect of your blogging. When a someone leaves a comment that shows your failing it’s very easy to respond harshly in a defensive manner. We’ve all seen the flaming that can ensue. While it’s not easy - a graceful approach to comments where you admit where you are wrong and others is right can bring out the lurkers and make them feel a little safer in leaving comments.
8. Be controversial? - I put a question mark after this one because it doesn’t always work (and I personally avoid it as much as I can these days) - but there’s nothing like controversy to get people commenting on your blog. Of course with controversy comes other consequences - one of which is the risk of putting off less vocal members of your readership.
9. ‘Reward’ Comments - There are many ways of acknowledging and ‘rewarding’ good comments that range from simply including a ‘good comment’ remark through to highlighting them in other posts that you write. Drawing attention to your readers who use comments well affirms them but also draws attention of other readers to good use of your comments section.
10. Make it Easy to Comment - I leave a lot of comments on a lot of blogs each week - but there is one situation where I rarely leave a comment - even if the post deserves it - blogs that require me to login before making a comment. Maybe I’m lazy (actually there’s no maybe about it) or maybe there’s something inside me that worries about giving out my personal details - but when I see a comments section that requires registration I almost always (95% or more of the time) leave the blog without leaving the comment that I want to make. While I totally understand the temptation to require registration for comments (combatting spam in most cases) something inside me resists participating in such comments sections. Registration is a hurdle you put in front of your readers that some will be willing to leap but that others will balk at (the same is often said about other comments section requirements that go beyond the basics). Keep your comments section as simple and as easy to use as possible.