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Congratulations to Samantha Shields and JourneyinHarmonywithFengShui.com. One of our newest clients, Samantha is a clutter and Feng Shui consultant who sells some amazing crystals to improve the energy flow in your home or office. Check out her Feng Shui Crystal Gallery and her tips for improving your home! Welcome Samantha!

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YourBlogTeam.com helps business owners set up inexpensive and easy-to-publish websites.

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Another Reason to Stay Away from those Free Services

Earlier I mentioned how a famous blogger is having problems switching from her old blog platform  and I’m struggling with more headaches around a similar issue.  When I started way back in 2001, one of the most inexpensive ways to get online was using Yahoo! for a domain name and email.  And it worked fine for several years.  Now, however, I am trying to get the domain name back so I can control it and it has been a huge headache including international phone calls and verifications.

At the time, it seemed like a great idea to save money and get started inexpensively. I had no idea how much trouble it would cause later…but now I wish I had actually used the best tools rather than the cheapest ones.

So I’ve adopted a new money rule… The best tools win over the best price!

How about you? Where is your setpoint for price vs. functionality? How do you decide which to purchase?

Blogs Get Search Engine Traffic

Are you looking for the best way to get more search engine traffic? Be sure to jump on the blog bandwagon. Search engines love blogs because they frequently have new content and automatically notify them when a post is made. For example, when I publish this post, Google will get a “ping” that says, “There is a new blog post on YourBlogTeam.com. Come and review it.”

Here are some statistics I gathered recently on how some of our sites rank in Google. These are all sites that have been alive and doing blog posts for at least six months (we set up the optimal system for them and they did the legwork of getting incoming links and posting regularly.) –

WellnessCoach.com (currently #1 for wellness coach)
DrewStevensConsulting.com (currently #2 for drew stevens)
PathwaysforAging.com (currently #1 for pathways for aging)
GreatChristmasBook.com (currently #1 for great christmas book)
MinutestoMoments.com (currently #1 for great mom book)

(Please note: These results may change. The search engines love new content so if these site owners quit posting or the content becomes older, Google may move them down in the rankings.)

Your first step in getting some of this traffic is to set up your blog to be search-engine friendly (we have a proprietary combination of plugins and features we use). Your next step is to determine what phrases are most commonly searched for. Use Wordtracker or the Google Keyword Tool and search your topic area (read more about this at How to Blog: What Should I Blog About? Part 1). Then create a post using the phrase in the title and and a couple times in the post. This will get you started attracting the search engines.

Give Your Business Website a Personal Touch

The Internet can be such a faceless place with every website starting to look and sound the same…. how do you make your business website stand out from the crowd?

With a blog, of course!

KansasCity.com posted a great article today on how businesses are using blogs to give a personal touch to their websites. A Kansas City real estate agent uses her blog to get more clients who are interested in moving to the area, and a local bistro uses their blog, the Business Bistro, to quickly and easily introduce specials to their clients.

Several of the advantages to blogging are listed in the article and are worth repeating:

  • You can keep your site updated in as little as 15-20 minutes per week.
  • You need to update at least once a week with really good content that fits your audience.
  • Responding to criticism through your blog comments is a great way to show responsiveness to your market.

I’d also add that you want to inject just enough of your personality that your visitors get to know you-without knowing too much!

So why do you blog? Have you seen it change your business?

Check Out DrewStevensConsulting.com for Sales, Customer Service and Productivity Solutions

Need help with your sales? Is lackluster customer service hurting your bottom line? Just want to be more productive? DrewStevensConsulting.com, one of our newest YourBlogTeam clients, can help.

Drew is a talented speaker and writer, author of six books, including Split Second Selling, Spilt Second Customer Service and Little Book of Hope.

If you are looking to improve your sales effectiveness, be sure to check out his free Sell Well Kit.

What’s exciting about working with Drew is his ability to generate so much content in a short amount of time. We moved his posts from his old blog and imported them into his new one, he has tons of free ebooks, and over 100 articles on the Internet so it’s really easy to get traffic going to his site.

He’s already on the first page of Google, and we’re shooting for the number 1 spot, mainly through articles submitted online. Then once we get the visitors to the site who are interested in his main topics (sales effectiveness, customer service, time management and productivity), the goal is for them to sign up for his Free Sales Training materials and join his newsletter so we can continue to contact them.

Membernaire Review - One of the Best Business Models on the Internet

How hard is it to make a sale on your website? First, you have to find the prospect. Then, you have to get them to visit your site and go to the order page. Then you your words have to convince them to buy. Maybe you are selling a $14.95 ebook or a $29.95 course. They buy, you make money, woo-hoo!

Then what happens?

You start the whole process all over again!

But what if there were another way?

What if you could continue to get revenue from that one prospect, over and over and over?

There is a way!

One of the absolute best business models on the Internet is a Membership Model. You have the initial sale, a prospect becomes a “Member”, you provide regular information (monthly or weekly), and you keep getting paid month after month.

Imagine having 500 members paying you $20 per month. That’s $10,000 in revenue… every month!

This is my absolute favorite business model so I’ve been scouring the Internet to find all the best resources, hints, secrets and tools for creating memberships.

I’ve found some really fantastic resources, and I’m excited to tell you that one of them is opening for a limited time to new members.

Membernaire explains how to setup your own membership site in 48 hours or less. I’ve been a member since it first opened last year…and I’ve got an entire notebook of material already.

What I love about Membernaire is how easy the whole process is. Some of the other membership training courses get really complicated by setting up special websites with complex software…. but Membernaire explains exactly how to set this up just using email instead of have a subscriber website.

The author, Jimmy Brown, has created multiple membership sites so he shares all his success secrets (and the problems to avoid)! He is a very talented writer, and every lesson teaches me something. In our most recent lesson, he explains how his wife (who can’t do technology) outsourced everything to set up her member site.

Membernaire ReviewThe lessons come every week (so you get four or five a month), and it only costs $27.

If you think you might be interested, go to Membernaire and read about all the different lessons, what a “Fixed Term Membership Site” is, and why it’s so much better than a regular membership site.

The Your Blog Team rating is 5 stars!

Any questions, let me know!

Kickstart Your Copy

How’s the copy on your site?

Wait, let me back up a little…. you might not even know what “copy” is!

“Copy” is the words on your site that persuade visitors to buy. Your headlines, your sales pages, your descriptions of your products, even the questions you ask on your website are all considered “copy.”

One of the most important skills for a website owner is learning how to be a “copywriter,” to write to sell (By the way, this is different from copyRIGHT which is how you claim ownership rights to something you’ve created.)

One of my favorite copywriting gurus, Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro, is hosting a no-cost webinar called, “Kick Start Your Copywriting Process.” This introductory webinar is a preview call for her upcoming bookcamp.

Lorrie takes the mystifying process of writing to sell and simplifies it into easy-to-follow steps. I have her Red Hot Copy to Woo Your Target Market course and use it every time I start putting together an elaborate sales page.

If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to make your words sing (and sell!) be sure to get the scoop from Lorrie.Sign up for the free webinar here.

What Should I Blog About? Part 3

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we discussed some easy ways to find topics to blog about.

This article lists 11 Quick (and Good) Content Ideas for Your Ezine or Website (and I would add or Blog to the title!

by Alexandria K. Brown

Publishing articles, especially via an e-zine, is the ideal opportunity to showcase your business. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you build credibility as an expert, while spreading the word about your services and products.

While I’m sure that sometimes you have dozens of content ideas, I bet other times you find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, grumbling that it’s publishing time again. Well, have no fear! Here are 11 quick (and good) content ideas for when you’re in a pinch.

1. Give real-life success stories.
Describe a problem you’ve solved for a client/customer, and use that as a springboard to offer more general advice. Show your readers how you’ve helped customers address challenges — “case studies” if you will. This positions you as the expert in your readers’ minds more than your coming out and saying so.

2. Think of three areas in which you’d like your clients to think of you as a resource.
Now develop content in those areas. For example, in my past life as a professional copywriter, I really enjoyed writing for Web sites. To help encourage my clients and prospects to hire me for these projects, I published several articles on how to write Web copy that sells.

3. Read industry publications for ideas.
Are there any hot issues in your field right now? The more controversial, the better. Don’t be afraid to offer your own opinion — your readers want to know it. After all, YOU are the expert in their eyes.

4. Jot down 8 questions your clients have asked you in the past.
You know, the ones they ask you over and over. Answer each in a short article. If you publish weekly, that’s two months’ worth of content, right off the bat! And if you can’t think of any questions, send all your current clients/customers a quick e-mail, asking them what topics they’re most interested in learning more about.

5. Learn anything neat lately from an industry conference, workshop, seminar, or insightful article?
No one says you have to reinvent the wheel of information! Pass on any gems of advice you’ve learned elsewhere — just give them full attribution. Or give your opinion of the event or article itself. Your readers will appreciate your frankness.

6. Offer a list of your top 5 or 10 tips on a certain subject.
It’s much easier to bang out a list of tips than to put together a real article. Of course, the tips can evolve into an article if you wish! Be sure to list your best tip first, or at least close to the top. (If you “fire your biggest gun” last, you risk losing your audience before they get to the good stuff.)

7. Interview associates whose expertise would interest your readers (while not competing with yours).
E-mail interviews are incredibly easy to do. Just send your interviewee 3 to 5 questions via e-mail, edit their answers, and have them approve the final version. Be sure to give them a short plug in your e-zine as a thank you. (A one- or two-sentence description of their business and their Web address should be fine.)

8. Recommend books and resources that you use, and offer full reviews on them.
In one issue of my old e-zine, “AKB MarCom Tips,” I featured reviews of my favorite four copywriting resource books. I’m glad I also gave my Amazon.com associate links, because I ended up making some nice commission, to boot!

9. Invite clients or readers to write you with their own questions, and answer one in each issue.
Right after their question, publish the person’s name, business, and Web address, with their permission. They’ll enjoy the attention and free publicity!

10. Invite readers to send in profiles.
Ask them to tell you about themselves — their names, businesses, locations, and how they use the information gained in your e-zine. Feature one profile in each issue or one every few issues.

11. When all else fails, borrow an article!
There are dozens of Web sites offering hundreds of articles that you can use in your e-zine. The articles are free and available for you to use immediately. The only catch is you’re required to leave the entire article intact, including the author’s promotional information. One of my favorite places to search for articles is www.ezinearticles.com.

One last note: Keep in mind that if your e-zine’s main objective is to get you more clients and customers, you should NOT feature other writers’ articles more than once in a blue moon. Remember our main goal is to continually showcase YOU. : )

© 2001-2008 Alexandria Brown International Inc.

Online entrepreneur Alexandria K. Brown publishes the award-winning ‘Highlights on Marketing & Success’ weekly ezine with 28,000+ subscribers. If you’re ready to jump-start your marketing, make more money, and have more fun in your small business, get your FREE tips now at www.AlexandriaBrown.com.

WellnessCoach.com Hits #1 Spot in Google

Congratulations to Erica Ross-Krieger of WellnessCoach.com who hit #1 on Google yesterday for the highly competitive phrase “Wellness Coach.”

So how did she do it? Erica started her blog last September (so it’s been almost 10 months) and she has been climbing in rankings since then. Here are some of her secrets to success:

  • Very-well written posts that appeal to her visitors.
  • Regular very frequent posting, especially at the beginning.
  • Development of a community of readers who link to and comment on her blog.
  • Use of our propriety search engine traffic building system.
  • Regular commenting on other blogs to build lots of incoming links.
  • Adding photos to her posts to appeal to readers and encourage site stickiness.
  • Persistence even when the results didn’t appear immediately.
  • Selection of a “juicy” target market… wellness coaching is a very popular topic.

Great job, Erica!

Wordpress Themes - How useful are they really?

One of the challenges users of Wordpress face is the choice of a Wordpress “theme.”

    Wordpress themes determine:

  • The fonts used on the site
  • The basic layout of the site
  • The color scheme
  • How the navigation is listed (are there tabs, etc.)

On the one hand, we love Wordpress themes because you can drastically change the look of a site just by choosing a different theme. You can easily incorporate a graphic look without hiring an expensive designer. On the other hand, there are some features that cannot be changed without some re-programming.

Internet marketing guru, Alice Seba, explained what she loves and changes in her Wordpress themes in her post, Is Wordpress REALLY All That? She makes some very valid points about the limitations of the Wordpress site (for example, that what shows up on a standard page of a Wordpress site is the same on nearly every page unless you alter it).

Overall, though, the feeling is that Wordpress can be one of the easiest ways to get your content onto the Internet, especially without having to pay a designer every time you want to add or change something.

One of the most common (and easiest) changes to make to a Wordpress theme is what appears on the home page. Some of our clients choose to have a static home page where they may have a sales letter or a standard introduction for their visitors. Others want their blog posts to appear on the home page. We can set it up either way–you should pick the solution that will lead your visitors to your next step, whether that is to sign up for your newsletter or buy your product or something else!

Congratulations to NewJobNow.com, our latest blog client

Welcome to our newest blogging client, NewJobNow.com, The Place for Job Hunters. The site is all about the job search process, including how to write resumes, interviewing and all things related to job hunting.

We were excited when this brand-new site was listed in Google within 48 hours. In the “old days,” I used to tell clients that it could take 4 to 6 months to get your site listed in Google, but thankfully with the new technology available to bloggers, we are able to attract the attention of the Google spiders (and the site owners keep them coming back with timely, relevant posts)!

What are the Google spiders? They are automated programs that search the Internet to find the content that goes into the Google search results. We install some special plugins into our Wordpress blogs that specifically target Google and the other search engines.

Congratulations Mike at NewJobNow.com!

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