What Google Knows

It wasn’t that long ago that a tremendous scare went through the internet community. The issue had to do with the huge amount of data that can be collected on individuals using search engines online. This large body of information naturally drew the attention of the Homeland Security agencies who are charged with the job of finding out all they can about potential sleeper cells of terrorism in this country.

The stand off came when the government began to demand access to the search records of all users of the major search engines. When this upcoming struggle for privacy began to come to a head, many of us who depend on search engines for both personal and business research began to get that “big brother is watching” feeling.

It’s a tough compromise. We know that our government must have the ability to find and put a stop to security risks that might result in another disaster like September 11th 2001. But at the same time, Americans are tremendously protective of their liberties, their privacy and their right to be left alone by the government.

Of all of the search engines who were in the spotlight during that struggle, Google’s resistance to allowing undue invasion of privacy of their customers stood out as an act of courage in a difficult confrontation. It turned out that Homeland Security really wasn’t becoming “big brother” and was simply researching how to use statistical data to possibly find terrorist patterns in search engine usage. But many of us remember that while Yahoo and others knuckled under quickly, it was Google who stood up and protected user information rather than immediately turn it over to Uncle Sam.

This stand reflects a long established business ethic that Google has maintained to be protective of the data it collects about users of its search tools. That protective nature has more benefits than just building our confidence that Google is a safe tool for all of us to use. Google indeed has at its disposal a tremendous library of personal information on anyone using its search tools. And as the dominant search engine in the industry, this potential includes just about anyone who accesses the internet.

The information that can be collected from you and I as we use the internet can tell an interested party a lot about your interests, what kind of business you are in, your religious views and your political affiliations. Powerful analytical tools are available to take large volumes of search information and translate that into profiles that would be of great interest to the government and to marketers who would love to be able to target specific populations for sales.

For Google, this information has significant value to them as they fine tune their search engine methodologies. They can methodically analyze this data to draw conclusions about how their search tools are working and how they should update the formulas that drive those tools to be more in step with how the internet audience is using cyberspace. Yes, this is taking advantage of their already dominant position to secure that position and make their toolset even more capable of staying ahead of the game. But we really cannot fault Google for using this data in that way. That is just good business.

It turns out then that Google’s protective posture when it comes to that massive database of search information serves their purposes extremely well. If they can keep this mountain of very specific data secure and proprietary, it represents a trade secret of tremendous value to Google to help them maintain their market superiority for a long time to come.

This is a case of the needs of the market serving the public good well. For as Google protects our search information so only it can benefit from such knowledge, they also are protecting our privacy from the prying eyes of overenthusiastic government agencies, hackers, marketing campaigns and even the terrorists who could use that information for insidious purposes. Therefore we can be thankful that Google jealously guards this data for its own uses because in the process, they are protecting us along the way.

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A Hidden Gold Mine in Every Business

In many companies, most of the company seems to operate by a completely different set of rules and communicate in a different language than those the IT or computer services sector of the business. This division is somewhat artificial and partially maintained by the IT people themselves because of a certain culture technical people have about their specialized knowledge and application areas. But at heart, those strange people down in IT have the same goals as every other business person which is to succeed both personally and corporately in shared projects.

But those of us on the business side of the corporate landscape depend on the computer folks to let us know how things are going with that highly valuable asset that we have in our IT systems, hardware and software. Most medium to large businesses run very high capacity computers or multitudes of computers connected through a network and those systems must perform at top capacity each day to accomplish the goals of the business.

The upgrade and maintenance budgets for the computers that run your business no doubt represents a fairly sizable percentage of the corporate budget each year. But because those systems are what make you competitive in the marketplace, that investment is worth the money to assure that the mission critical jobs those powerful systems do get done on time each week and month.

When a computer begins to show signs of straining under the load of work, we are giving it, that can be a cause of significant concern for a business. If your business paradigm dictates that the load of traffic or system resources could be pushed to beyond what the computers can do with their existing computing power, that weakness in the IT infrastructure represents a significant risk to the company should the system become overloaded when there is a large body of work to be done by these machines.

What not every business person knows is that there may be a hidden goldmine of computing capacity already resident in your IT resources that simply is not being tapped to its fullest. You know that it isn’t uncommon for your IT professionals to report that your systems are at 80-90% capacity and must be upgraded to handle the next big increase in business.

That hidden goldmine is a discipline that has actually been around for quite sometime but is infrequently tapped in the modern business world. That discipline is called “capacity planning”. By implementing a capacity planning office and monitoring function, you can put the tools and the talent in place to precisely measure scientifically if your computer systems are at capacity of if there is just a need for system tuning or realignment of computing schedules to get more out of the systems you already own.

Recently a large oil company in the Midwest noted that many of its mission critical functions were being delayed in processing, seemingly because the computer systems were overloaded and in dire need of an expensive and time consuming upgrade. Capacity planning measurements were taken and the system was diagnosed to determine what the real problem was and it was found that job priorities of new functions were not tuned to the load of the system at critical time frames. The adjustments were made by talented systems administrators and the IT infrastructure continued to perform at top-notch capacity and the delays were eliminated with no additional hardware or upgrades needed.

By utilizing capacity planning software tools and enabling your IT team to take advantage of this highly scientific computer measurement and prediction method, the business can get the most out of its computer resources and use its corporate resources to further the business objectives of the company. And that benefits everyone.

 

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The Power of Testimonials in Promoting Your Affiliate Sites:

 


Why They Work and How to Use Them

Someone’s good word can be incredibly powerful. As a consumer yourself, wouldn’t you rather purchase a product that has been recommended to you by a friend even if it is unfamiliar to you? Given a selection of similar products, wouldn’t you rather try one that has had some glowing reviews even if you’ve never heard of them before? Such is the power of testimonials when used in promoting affiliate sites.

These days, testimonials are a common strategy for building credibility and generating buzz about a product or a company. The world’s largest corporations spend billions of dollars in harnessing the power of a good word alone. In affiliate marketing, testimonials are regularly utilized to promote an affiliate’s site, attract new customers and recruits and compete directly with another known brand.

Why affiliate marketers use testimonials

The role of testimonials in promoting an affiliate marketing site is to try to influence consumers’ buying decisions and behavior. Carefully chosen testimonials can be very effective in convincing prospects to try the affiliate product, service or membership. It has such power that many affiliate marketing sites regularly publish testimonials from satisfied customers on their home pages for visitors to view.

Many of the affiliate marketing programs in the industry today are fairly new while others have been operating quietly under the radar. Their relative anonymity can work against them, particularly since the affiliate marketing field tends to be very competitive.

To stand out, affiliate marketing programs try to increase their credibility factor by inviting famous personalities to speak for them through testimonials. While this can be very effective particularly if the celebrity has a large fan base, it can also be quite expensive. Not every affiliate marketer can afford to pay a celebrity just to place their name on his site.

To compete, affiliate marketers turn to their own customers and members, specifically people who have had sufficient experience in the program and those who have experienced success. A fully satisfied customer’s testimonial, if it’s well-written and based on a true experience and event, can be as convincing and effective as that of any celebrity.

Using the power of testimonials for promoting an affiliate’s site
Building your credibility can be tricky, particularly since the affiliate marketing industry continues to evolve. However, if careful strategies are employed, there is a high likelihood that you can succeed as an affiliate. Consider the following factors:

Specifics

Testimonials exhibit much more power in promoting your affiliate’s site if they are expressed in more details. If a testimonial from a customer or another affiliate states that the program is ‘excellent’, it should be followed by a specific description of the program’s most useful features – what makes it excellent, how it has helped the customer or affiliate, why it’s reliable, etc.

Skepticism

Believe it or not, skepticism is healthy when used with testimonials for promoting your affiliate’s site. Words such as, ‘I wasn’t convinced at first, BUT…’ or ‘I have always used XYZ product and didn’t think of switching to another brand. However, your product has ____ and ____ features that convinced me it was so much better.’

Even with the stated objection, a testimonial can be quite powerful if it is followed by a positive statement.

Keeping it real

Avoid using fake testimonials. ‘Designer’ testimonials are easy to write according to the specifics you require but someone will get wind of the fact and expose you. Once you’re found out, you lose your credibility. That simple act could haunt you for the rest of your life as a discredited affiliate marketer.

A few good words

Try to be selective with your choice of testimonials. They can be quite powerful when used for promoting your affiliate’s site but over-use can work against you. Find the best ones, especially the well-written and detailed testimonials and use these instead. Or, you could take the best sentences and phrases and post those in place of a whole paragraph.

High Paying Affiliate Programs

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Web Advertising for Small Business

If you run a small business, advertising costs must be figured in as part of your overall expenses. If you have received quotes for phone directory ads, business association block ads, and mostly any other print media, these costs are quite high. So, what if your budget is small, perhaps negligible? Will you be left outside of the advertising arena or are there other avenues to help you get the word out? The answer in one word is: yes. Let’s explore ways you can “get the word out” through online means…yes, via the internet!

The rise of the internet has spawned an entire industry with it. You may remember in the late 1990s stories of dot.com companies who made a fortune and then went bust. The “irrational exuberance” of that era has, thankfully, passed by and in its place is a much more rational, but very lively market.

Today’s biggest players online are search engine providers led by Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. Between them, these three search engines dominate the market. Mostly everyone today searches the internet for products sold by small businesses to large corporations and these are the people you want to target. Indeed, while Christmas season sales typically increase around 4% year over year for “brick and mortar” retailers, the internet has been seeing year over year increases of 30% and higher! No small business operator should exclude the internet when crafting a marketing plan.

Speaking of the search engines, both Google and Yahoo! have their own advertising networks. Google has its AdWords program while the Yahoo! Publisher Network is a comparable, though newer program. This is where you, as a small business owner, can do some of your advertising. By selecting the advertising plan that works for you, you can have your ads appear on web sites in your local area or across the world and be charged a small amount per click. In other words, you don’t pay for advertising unless someone clicks on your ad and goes through to your site. To keep clicks from getting out of control you determine the price per click and the amount per day, week, or month you are willing to pay. No busting of your small business budget!

Banner or text ads on select sites can also be helpful for your small business. If there is a web site you like and you suspect that a lot of your customers would frequent that site, contact the webmaster to learn what his advertising charges would be. Perhaps in exchange for submitting a few helpful articles, the webmaster would waive your advertising fee altogether. Or, at the very least, accept any other help you could provide [moderating a forum, answering questions, etc.].

Another way of getting the word out is through your own web site. No, you don’t need a web professional to establish your site, but it does help to have someone who can guide you through the set up process. At the very least a few pages is what you will need, so set up costs shouldn’t be terribly expensive. In addition, figure on paying monthly hosting and domain name fees but these expenses should be no more than $100-$125 per year. Pay a little extra for a web professional who can help you optimize your site [make it search engine friendly] and you’ll get your money back much quicker. Finally, check with your accountant for small business tax deductions.

Big List of Best Backlinks For Your  Website

You can also generate plenty of attention by writing articles, just like the one you are reading now. No, you don’t need to be a professional writer, but if you can clearly convey your thoughts and present a plan of action for your readers [such as: buy my product] you can get what amounts to be free advertising. How so? By submitting what you write to article submission sites for wider dissemination. By including helpful links in the author resource box you can cause search engines to make your web site much more visible as your article gets reprinted on other web sites. Furthermore, readers will perceive that you are an “expert” and will likely inquire to find out just what you are all about. You can call this, “small business advertising on the cheap!”

No, as a small business owner you don’t have to be strapped by high advertising costs — who has the cash to spare? Instead, the internet offers to you several cost effective ways of informing people about who you are, what you do, and where they can find you.

Select the marketing plan that works best for your small business. A mixture of all four points is a great plan of attack for many small business owners…just like you!

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Affiliate Marketing Tips

No matter what you may have heard about affiliate
marketing, it’s impossible for everyone to make
5,000 – 10,000 dollars a month, as there is simply
too much competition. There is also no money that
will fall into your hands without you doing anything
for it.

 

With that in mind, you’ll find some high level tips
below that will help you make money with affiliate
marketing programs on the internet.

1. Google and Overture
Even though the days of free traffic aren’t completely
over, they are surely fading away quickly. You can
choose to work hard creating web pages that score
well in the search engines, although it’s very hard
to do.

By paying for clicks with Google and Overture, you’ll
have the top three positions on the search engines
that matter the most. If you hope to generate web
traffic from Yahoo, all you need to do is be at the
top of Google.

2. Your own email list
Sending offers to your very own email list is the
ideal way to build freedom and residual income.
Instead of sending traffic away then hoping for
the best, you should instead have your own email
list to which you are able to send multiple offers.

3. Your own affiliate program
If you knew that each filled out form on your site
generated .50 cent in revenue, would you still be
willing to pay someone else .25 cents to generate
that same traffic?

The most overlooked ways of generating traffic is
having others generate it for you. There are many
advantages to this method, including the fact that
others will be getting your traffic for you.

When it all comes down to it, everything involves
paying for traffic in one way or another. To
make more income, you’ll need to invest very
wisely in advertising.

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Your Greatest Marketing Assets

You might not think that you are a marketing and sales person, but if you own or work in a small business think again. When you’re in business for yourself – whether you like it or not, feel like you’re good at it or not – you are a marketing and sales person.

I tell my marketing clients and those that attend my various marketing presentations all the time that the two greatest assets you posses are your Attitude and Belief. When these are positive and show through your marketing and sales efforts, your results will increase dramatically.

Attitude: Be enthusiastic and passionate about your value proposition to the marketplace. You know that what you offer can make a difference and have an impact on your clients. When it comes to your own marketing, if you feel good about yourself and you have self-confidence because you are doing everything for the benefit of your clients, you’ll become more attractive to prospective clients.

Belief: You don’t have to have a degree in marketing to get great marketing results. But you do have to believe in yourself and your actions. I call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe that can’t do something, you’re right – you won’t do it. On the other hand, if you believe that you can learn what it takes to get better marketing results you will.

If you’re persistent in pursuing your business and your small business marketing with a positive attitude and belief that you can, sooner or later you’ll find what works for you. You’ll discover the marketing strategies and tactics that allow you to begin attracting attention and bringing in new clients consistently! I know because it’s happening for me.

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Products to Make Blogging Easier

There are an assortment of products which can simplify the process of blogging. Although blogging is not a difficult process there can be some aspects of blogging which are overwhelming to new bloggers or bloggers who do not have a great deal of Internet experience. These products can be very beneficial to the blogger by simplifying the design process or helping to make the blog more appealing to blog readers. This article will discuss some of the products currently available to make blogging easier including blogging software programs, website design software and keyword generators.

Blogging Software Programs

Blogging software programs are some of the most obvious programs which make blogging easier. These programs are readily available and many of them are free to use. Blogging software programs can greatly simplify the process of publishing a blog especially if the blogger employs the templates included in these programs. In some cases the act of publishing a blog once the blog has been set up may be as simple as typing the text of the blog into a text editor and pressing a button to publish the blog. However, there will be some work required of the blogger upfront to set up the layout of the blog.

Even the design process is greatly simplified by these programs especially if the blogger opts to use the templates in the program. The blogger may only have to scroll through a list of options and select those which he finds most appealing. Based on these selections the software will generate the blog with the appropriate layout, colors, fonts and even advertising options. More ambitious bloggers may opt to utilize their programming skills to customize these templates but this is not necessary and the blog will function sufficiently without any additional customization.

Website Design Software

Website design software can also be a useful tool for new bloggers who want to create a blog which is aesthetically appealing and also functional. These software programs make it possible for bloggers who do not have any design experience to create a blog with a unique appearance. When using this type of software the blogger can scroll through options, make changes on the fly, preview changes and even upload photos for use in the blog. As these changes are made in the software design program the code for these design options is automatically generated, updated and stored as necessary.

Keyword Generators

Bloggers who are trying to attract a great deal of web traffic to a website should also consider the use of keyword generator to assist them in determining which keywords they should be using in their blog. The blogger may want to make the blog interesting and informative as a priority but the judicious use of keywords throughout the blog and in the code of the blog can contribute to higher search engine rankings for the blog. This is important because high search engine rankings often translate to high blog traffic. This is because Internet users heavily rely on search engines to assist them in finding the best websites which pertain to certain keywords which are used during searches. These high search engine rankings essentially act as free advertising for the blog owner because Internet users expect the highest ranking websites to be the most informative websites so they are likely to visit blogs which rank well with search engines as opposed to blogs which are buried on later pages of search results.

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How You Can Make Money Using Tumblr

There are tons of ways to make money online and social networking tools are certainly in that mix, but one that gets overlooked often is Tumblr. That’s largely because it is the ‘new kid on the block,’ and those that have discovered the value of using Tumblr to generate income aren’t really talking about it. They like their little secret and plan to keep it that way for as long as they can.

Tumble blogging is a cheap and easy method for business to engage their customers and to build brand recognition. In fact, it’s a great way to keep and grow your customer base. And if you want to make money, now would be a good time to forget all about traditional marketing.

Traditional marketing, with its standardized photos and slogans, doesn’t often cut it in our over sensitive, hyper connected world. The time is here to think outside the box. Tumblr is free and it makes posting easier than ever, so it means you can quickly create brand recognition and it provides regular, consistent channels to the internet’s consciousness so that you can achieve that brand recognition even faster. Just a few clicks and your text, quote, link, photo, video, etc. are posted and there for the world to view.

A blog that is linked to social media is like a lottery ticket for most businesses. There is a definite shift from spending money on advertising to spending that money on social networking campaigns, that are now recognized as being far more valuable and far more affordable. Social media in an incredible tool for business to share content online and that content is what is so important for marketing. Your goal is to inspire viewers to want to learn more about your company.

If you want to make money on Tumblr you are going to need to engage your customers. The point of social media, and that includes Tumblr, is to connect with your customers. Business bloggers must be continually interacting with their customers if they want to keep that connection, otherwise it will be lost. By engaging with your viewers you create loyalty and you build a relationship. If you are only engaging now and then they will quickly lose interest and leave you. Engaging is easy: post a question, ask for opinions on say a new ad or ask for a like on a new publication. Just a few examples of how you can engage your viewers. Those that are following you on Tumblr can repost your posts onto their blog and from their it can be reposted yet again and on it goes – much like Facebook.

The more internet traffic you have on your page the more it drives brand recognition and that in turn translates into revenue because of the interest in your product.

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Highly Effective Business Coaching

Business coaching – what is it? Executives and managers of companies who are interested in development and career growth increasingly turn to a business coach to have a customized development process. Consider this – how often would you have found it helpful to have a chance to talk about some key ideas with a person that is impartial and objective in preparation for a major change or perhaps a very important meeting.

The concept of business coaching has actually come from the sports arena where top athletes employ coaches to help improve and enhance their performance. Business people are slowly realizing that the same benefits can be enjoyed in the business arena using business coaches.

Coaching works best in those environments where there is a desire to be practical, progressive and proactive but at the same time there is value in the opportunity to challenge and stimulate. The executive(s) or manager(s) is thought to be the expert in his/her field and in this way the business coach will facilitated the executive or manager to find the right way forward. Coaching is always forward thinking with a well-structured approach that remains flexible and presumes purpose and commitment.

Effective, Efficient, Productive
When it comes to professional support, business coaching is the exception as it combines individual attention, challenge and objectiveness. The coach’s skills make it extremely successful because:

It inspires you to develop your own solutions
It keeps you focusing on a specific goal or goals
It makes you accountable for your progress
It supports you through change
It removes any blockages so that you can move forward
It prioritizes based on values
It challenges you to take the next step in moving forward

Research published in Olivero et al. 1997 showed that training can increase productivity by as much as 22 percent, but when training is combined with coaching, it can increase productivity by a whopping 88 percent.

What Does Business Coaching Involve?
Coaching is not training – the delivery system is much different. A business coach will work with the executive or manager to develop a training program that is tailored to the skill areas where there is a need for impact. The coach will help the executive/manager to make the necessary behavioral changes to create growth. The coach does not provide the answer, but rather the coach brings along a process or system to help the client determine the answers.

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Effective Links Building Strategy

Organic search engine traffic is often considered to be the holy grail of traffic sources. It is free, plentiful (depending on your niche), and Internet users across the globe use search engines. However, as any seasoned website owner can attest, search engines can be as fickle as a teenage girl.

One day you are Number 1 and the search engines love you. The next day your site has been nonchalantly pushed to page 47. No rhyme or reason or “Dear John” letter. In order to balance out these inevitable downgrades, it is equally important for site owners to master the art of link building.

Link building is defined as locating other targeted sites in your niche, and either exchanging links with them, or having them link to you. The latter of the two – one way links – are considered to be the most ideal option amongst link building professionals.

Obtaining links from other sites basically gives you targeted traffic. And in many cases, links from other sites can last forever. Because of that aspect, it is important to incorporate this tactic into your overall online marketing plan.

The following are some of the suggestions to construct effective link building strategies.

Put some link bait on the hook. Link bait is marketing lingo for – “create content that will absolutely, positively compel other site owners to link to you.”

It is typically an article or a blog post that has a definite “WOW!” factor. What creates that “WOW!”? You can put together a huge list of helpful resources for people in your niche. Better yet, go beyond the name of the site and the URL and include a comprehensive description. Tell why you like the site, or how it is going to help your site visitors the most.

Purchase text links. This is probably the most frequently used link building strategy. This is also one of the fastest ways to generate one way links without breaking a sweat. There are many directories that specialize in matching text link buyers and sellers. These directories are good because you were find a number of sites to choose from in almost any category. Plus, you can read reviews from other text link buyers in your niche.

Obtain blog reviews. A simple way to build links to your blog is to get blog reviews. The concept is basic. Someone reviews your blogs content – you get a link.

Blog reviews are great because someone is actually giving specific details about your site, rather than just one line of text (which is what you will get with text links).
If you do a search for “blog reviews” you will find several sites offering the service. Depending on the site, you may or may not have to pay for the review.

As you can see, link building is not hard. It does require time and commitment. But the payoff – increased targeted traffic – makes it well worth the effort.

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