Merry Christmas

On December 23, 2010, in Content Creation, by lesley
A Danish Christmas tree illuminated with burni...

It’s that time of year again. I hope you’ve had a busy few weeks, with lots of sales, but I also hope you’re taking the time to wind down and enjoy the season with friends and family.

No sooner is it Christmas, than the New Year appears; it’s time to think about 2010 as a learning experience.

How To Get More WebSite Traffic?

If you made the leap of faith and started your internet store in 2010, congratulations. It’s a huge step.

You may be shaking your heads and wondering why you haven’t yet made the millions you expected. Next year the aim is to do better, but what does that mean?

In a very interesting article, Johnny B Truant, looks at our obsession with traffic and points out that it’s not necessarily the number of visitors a site receives that matters, it’s their value. If you get a small number of visitors but they all want to buy, take part, interact, then who would complain? Read the whole article here.

Speaking personally. I’d have no problem with only one visitor a day, if that visitor bought from me. Content may be king (or so everyone tells us) but if no one reads your content (on your webstore or your blog) or buys your product, then it’s kind of pointless. Pamela Wilson’s post on ways to get more people to read your content mostly talks about layout; there are tips there you can use in your blog, in your articles and even in your product descriptions.

How to Give Something Back

The internet makes some things really easy to do. Copyblogger have noticed this and brought out their own T shirts. 100% of the profits will be donated to child literacy organization Reading is Fundamental. So what should you do? Well you could hop over to copyblogger and grab a T shirt for a good cause, but why not think bigger?

There are all sorts of ways you can use your website’s power for good, instead of evil! It’s relatively easy to do the same sort of thing by opening a store with cafepress.com where you can have your own slogans and art work printed on a wide range of promotional items. Think of 2011 as a year when you can give as well as take. There’s an organization somewhere that would fit you stores demographic and be very grateful for your help, even if all you do is link to them and suggest that your visitors donate.

How to Do Everything

I read an interesting post this week talking about Donald Trump‘s ideas about dominating a niche. Please read the whole post, but let me point out one thing it said. ‘Be everywhere.’ Now that’s OK for Donald Trump because, and I’m just guessing here, he doesn’t have to make his own promotional videos, record his own podcasts, design and make his own ads or even write his won blog. Trump has staff, and he knows how to use them.

Most of us don’t have that luxury. Yet.

So trying to ‘Be everywhere’ just doesn’t really work. Or at least it doesn’t for me. I’ll give you an example. I had a chat at the weekend with someone who wanted my help with article marketing. He was convinced that the advice he’d been given was wrong, that article marketing as such didn’t work. Why? He’d written articles and had them published, at a rate of four per month. When I asked why not more he said something I’ll bet you’ve said sometime in the last month ‘I don’t have the time’.

Article Marketing is an effective and proven promotion stragey for websites of all kinds, incuding web stores, but four articles is just not enough. He didn’t need to abandon that channel, he needed to step it up. He couldn’t do that because he was doing too many other things at the same time.

Why not pick one or two channels of promotion for your store, define a goal (sales/visitors in a period of time or whatever you feel appropriate) and go for it. Pick something you can do, something you like doing and put all your effort into it, then if for some reason it doesnt work, you’ll know its not a result of lack of effort. When it comes to social media no one really knows what will work for your business, they only know what worked for them. All businesses are NOT the same.

If you find your efforts are working, look at how you can reduce the workload (usually by adding some automation) so you can add another channel, or use the income you’ve generated to get help you try another channel as well. If you spread yourself too thinly across social media you can get the impression that none are working, when that may be far from the truth.

If not everywhere, where?

Over the last year, I’ve come to love Twitter, so in 2010 it will be one of my promotional channels of choice. I’ve met some really interesting people on Twitter and made sales, but I think that’s because Twitter suits me in some way. That’s why I think it’s important to find something you actually enjoy as a way to promote your store, your enthusiasm will come across in what you write or say, and enthusiasm is infectious. Would you rather buy from someone who had enthusiasm for their product, or someone who seemed detached from it? If you can’t decide don’t agonize over the choice, sometimes it’s much more important to simple make a decision and then take action, than to spend lots of time worrying about the decision and taking no action at all.

If you’re looking to use social media more in 2011, and you should, check out a useful post on ProBlogger where Clare Lancaster describes the five most critical errors people make when they start using social media for business. She doesn’t mention my pet hate, so let me point out that if your first social media contact with me is to tell me what you want to sell me, I’m probably not going to hang around too long to find out what else you have to say. Social means social.

Would you stop someone in the street and say

‘Hi! Want to buy some great nightgowns?’

You would?

You’re creepy.

Can You Help?

One of my aims in 2011 is to build a list of the most useful tools for those us who own web stores. I’d like to start with the free tools. Can you give that some thought and let me know of products or services you’ve used over the last year that are free (even of they have some sort of ‘pro’ service). I think it’s something we would all find useful, and I’m including wordpress plugins.

Which brings me to my last topic, the next WordSmith’s Workshop. The workshop will be held on Tuesday 11th January 2011 at 9pm when I’ll be talking about blogging. I’m going to start right at the beginning with what a blog is, what your choices are and how to set one up. FROM SCRATCH. It will be very practical and I’ll have some videos to show  as well as the normal slides.

Finally – Merry Christmas. 2010 has been a very big year for me and for my family, our first full year in a new home in a new country.

My year has had it’s challenges, I’m sure yours has too. For me, some of the best features of the year have been the establishment of this blog, becoming a real part of the Chris Malta Forum, rediscovering my love of writing and working with Brendan on EasyContentBlueprints

Thank you all for reading, for commenting on posts, and for coming along to the workshops.

Merry Christmas – and may 2011 be everything you want it to be.

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My Week On The Web

On December 5, 2010, in Content Creation, by lesley
Diary
Image by Barnaby via Flickr
My husband had a few days off this week , so he’s been spending some time on his own Internet project because the idea of casting off the nine to five is very, very popular in this house.
The only thing is, he keeps asking me stuff, and that isn’t good when I’m trying to get peace and quiet to write. After the fourth or fifth interruption I said something grumpy and told him maybe he should spend more time looking for the information himself.
I’d like to point out that’s normal my normal response, but it was one of those days when the writing was working really well and I really really, didn’t want to stop again.
Of course what he pointed out to me was that since he has a ‘proper‘ job, he doesn’t have nearly as much time to spend on the web as I do.

And that gave me an idea.  So here’s a post for him and for you, with all the useful stuff I’ve found during my week on the web. If it’s useful, let me know and I’ll make it a regular ‘thing’.

Here We Go.

Monday

is one of the highlights of my week because there’s always a really useful blog post at SteveScottsite.com. This week Steve was talking about affiliate marketing and giving some really good, specific information about how makes money through affiliate marketing emails.

Monday evenings I always look forward to Brendan’s mastermind Group which meets at 8pm Eastern. The last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about google analytics and pay-per-click, and Brendan has been guiding us through that particular minefield. I tried it on my own last year, this year I’ve learned a lot more and spent a lot less. I recommend the mastermind group!

Continue reading »

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