What do you want from Internet Marketing?

If you are expecting or wanting to get rich overnight, retire tomorrow, money by the millions, needing a wheelbarrow to make your next bank deposit, etc. etc. you need a healthy dose of reality.

There are hundreds, probably thousands, of Internet Marketing spiels out there that say you can do any and all of the above by pushing a button, following a system, or just buying some specific piece of software. The truth is, even if these things have contain some semblance of success, it ain’t nearly as easy as they make it sound. People are too quickly caught up in the marketing hype, blazing sales letters, glorious testimonials and general bandwagon to really think about the offer objectively.

First, consider this how factual these offers likely aren’t. If I am making $18,000 per month/day/hour or whatever my sales pitch says, let’s consider the situation for a moment. Why would I be trying to sell you my idea for $7 or $77 or even $777? I would be inviting competition in droves. My resource of gazillions of dollars would dry up in days or months at best. Of course, unless, I left out some very important steps. Little tidbits that you would have no idea are missing, unless you saw exactly what I was doing. Maybe I’m making the stated amount, but it’s from selling the system instead of actually making money using the system I’m selling. If what I am saying is true, giving you the info for 50-500 bucks is just plain dumb. Rich people don’t get and remain rich by making dumb decisions.

But, you say, this guy has made so many millions he just wants to give back! I saw it right on his website! Right. You are the target audience, just keep eating that BullSchlitz up. If someone *really* wanted to give back, it wouldn’t cost a dime.

A couple of points I’d like to make:

First, making money in Internet Marketing is not easy. Yes, you get to sit at a desk, but you still have to work at that desk. I have so many friends/family who think I just sit around and play on the computer here and there and the cash just rolls in. Now, you may get to the point that you have developed some properties, methods and grown your knowledge to the point that daily work and maintenance is very light. This does happen quite often for people who stick with it. BUT, that is after months/years of trial and error, research and learning and lots of stuff failing or not making much money along the way.

Secondly, the guberus are usually simply full of Schlitz. People who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. This is not always 100% true, but with all the self-promoting gurus online, it’s pretty close. These guys make more money off selling products than they do using the products themselves.

Finally, I need to say what I wish I would have learned a long time ago. An ounce of experience is worth a pound of info from someone else. If you get an idea, STOP and put it into action. Then go back to learning, researching or whatever. Forget what different people are saying. Besides, in almost every topic of Internet Marketing, you will find conflicting views and info from people who swear they know what they’re talking about. If something makes sense to you, give it a shot. If it doesn’t work, you will learn from it anyway. You carry this knowledge and experience straight into your next project.

Analyzing your web traffic statistics can be an invaluable tool for a number of different reasons. But before you can make full use of this tool, you need to understand how to interpret the data.

Most web hosting companies will provide you with basic web traffic information that you then have to interpret and make pertinent use of. However, the data you receive from your host company can be overwhelming if you don’t understand how to apply it to your particular business and website. Let’s start by examining the most basic data – the average visitors to your site on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

These figures are the most accurate measure of your website’s activity. It would appear on the surface that the more traffic you see recorded, the better you can assume your website is doing, but this is an inaccurate perception. You must also look at the behavior of your visitors once they come to your website to accurately gauge the effectiveness of your site.

There is often a great misconception about what is commonly known as “hits” and what is really effective, quality traffic to your site. Hits simply means the number of information requests received by the server. If you think about the fact that a hit can simply equate to the number of graphics per page, you will get an idea of how overblown the concept of hits can be. For example, if your homepage has 15 graphics on it, the server records this as 15 hits, when in reality we are talking about a single visitor checking out a single page on your site. As you can see, hits are not useful in analyzing your website traffic.

The more visitors that come to your website, the more accurate your interpretation will become. The greater the traffic is to your website, the more precise your analysis will be of overall trends in visitor behavior. The smaller the number of visitors, the more a few anomalous visitors
can distort the analysis.

The aim is to use the web traffic statistics to figure out how well or how poorly your site is working for your visitors. One way to determine this is to find out how long on average your visitors spend on your site. If the time spent is relatively brief, it usually indicates an underlying problem. Then the challenge is to figure out what that problem is.

It could be that your keywords are directing the wrong type of visitors to your website, or that your graphics are confusing or intimidating, causing the visitor to exit rapidly. Use the knowledge of how much time visitors are spending on your site to pinpoint specific problems, and after you fix those problems, continue to use time spent as a gauge of how effective your fix has been.

Additionally, web traffic stats can help you determine effective and ineffective areas of your website. If you have a page that you believe is important, but visitors are exiting it rapidly, that page needs attention. You could, for example, consider improving the link to this page by making the link more noticeable and enticing, or you could improve the look of the page or the ease that your visitors can access the necessary information on that page.

If, on the other hand, you notice that visitors are spending a lot of time on pages that you think are less important, you might consider moving some of your sales copy and marketing focus to that particular page.

As you can see, these statistics will reveal vital information about the effectiveness of individual pages, and visitor habits and motivation. This is essential information to any successful Internet marketing campaign.

Your website undoubtedly has exit pages, such as a final order or contact form. This is a page you can expect your visitor to exit rapidly. However, not every visitor to your site is going to find exactly what he or she is looking for, so statistics may show you a number of different exit pages. This is normal unless you notice a exit trend on a particular page that is not intended as an exit page. In the case that a significant percentage of visitors are exiting your website on a page not designed for that purpose, you must closely examine that particular page to discern what the problem is. Once you pinpoint potential weaknesses on that page, minor modifications in content or graphic may have a significant impact on the keeping visitors moving through your site instead of exiting at the wrong page.

After you have analyzed your visitor statistics, it’s time to turn to your keywords and phrases. Notice if particular keywords are directing a specific type of visitor to your site. The more targeted the visitor – meaning that they find what they are looking for on your site, and even better, fill out your contact form or make a purchase – the more valuable that keyword is.

However, if you find a large number of visitors are being directed – or should I say misdirected – to your site by a particular keyword or phrase, that keyword demands adjustment. Keywords are vital to bringing quality visitors to your site who are ready to do business with you. Close analysis of the keywords your visitors are using to find your site will give you a vital understanding of your visitor’s needs and motivations.

Finally, if you notice that users are finding your website by typing in your company name, break open the champagne! It means you have achieved a significant level of brand recognition, and this is a sure sign of burgeoning success.

If you’re doing any type of business on the internet than search engines like Google and Bing could play a large role in the success or failure of your business. Even though most internet user have experience using search engines, many don’t know how the engines work.

For website owners it is important to understand how, at least at a high level, search engines work so they can take advantage of the website traffic that only search engines can deliver.

Search Engines are special sites on the Web that are designed to help people find information stored on other sites. There are differences in the ways various Search Engines work, but they all perform three basic tasks:

- They search the Internet or select pieces of the Internet based on important words,
- They keep an index of the words they find, and where they find them, and
- They allow users to look for words or combinations of words found in that index.

Early Search Engines held an index of a few hundred thousand pages and documents, and received maybe one or two thousand inquiries each day. Today, a top Search Engine will index hundreds of millions of pages, and respond to tens of millions of queries per day.

Before a Search Engine can tell you where a file or document is, it must be found. To find information on the hundreds of millions of Web pages that exist, a Search Engine employs special software robots, called spiders, to build lists of the words found on Web sites.

When a spider is building its lists, the process is called web crawling.

In order to build and maintain a useful list of words, a Search Engine’s spiders have to look at a lot of pages. How does any spider start its travels over the Web? The usual starting points are lists of heavily used servers and very popular pages. The spider will begin with a popular site, indexing the words on its pages and following every link found within the site. In this way, the spidering system quickly begins to travel, spreading out across the most widely used portions of the Web.

To increase the likelihood that the spiders find your website make sure you are listed on high ranked business profile websites. Often, you can create a free business page and blog that will not only increase your chances of being found but also be another place for potential visitors to find about about your website.

Once the spiders have completed the task of finding information on Web pages, the Search Engine must store the information in a way that makes it useful. There are two key components involved in making the gathered data accessible to users:

- The information stored with the data, and
- The method by which the information is indexed.

In the simplest case, a Search Engine could just store the word and the URL where it was found. In reality, this would make for an engine of limited use, since there would be no way of telling whether the word was used in an important or a trivial way on the page, whether the word was used once or many times or whether the page contained links to other pages containing the word. In other words, there would be no way of building the ranking list that tries to present the most useful pages at the top of the list of search results.

To make for more useful results, most Search Engines store more than just the word and URL. A Search Engine might store the number of times that the word appears on a page. The engine might assign a weight to each entry, with increasing values assigned to words as they appear near the top of the document, in sub-headings, in links, in the META tags or in the title of the page. Each commercial Search Engine has a different formula for assigning weight to the words in its index. This is one of the reasons that a search for the same word on different Search Engines will produce different lists, with the pages presented in different orders.

An index has a single purpose: it allows information to be found as quickly as possible. There are quite a few ways for an index to be built, but one of the most effective ways is to build a hash table. In hashing, a formula is applied to attach a numerical value to each word.

The formula is designed to evenly distribute the entries across a predetermined number of divisions. This numerical distribution is different from the distribution of words across the alphabet, and that is the key to a hash table’s effectiveness.

When a person requests a search on a keyword or phrase, the Search Engine software searches the index for relevant information. The software then provides a report back to the searcher with the most relevant web pages listed first.

So, why are search engines important to business website owners? Simple. You need traffic and Search Engines have lots of it. And, their purpose is to drive traffic to sites that they think match their visitors’ needs.

The way to get a portion of that traffic, is to optimize your website (you’ve likely heard of Search Engine Optimzaiton or SEO). That way when a someone searches for a keyword that is relevant to your website, the search engines includes a link to your website in the search results. That puts traffic and potential visitors just a click away from you website.

Affiliate advertising represents a massive opportunity to profit from your website, and with any profitable medium there will be people searching for methods of increasing their own slice of the pie by “playing the system”. Why take risks yourself with a product or service when programs such as Google Adsense enable you to profit from others desire to drive traffic and sales to their companies?

You may be tempted to simply create a website with the express intention of selling advertising space. This is a proven business method after all, free local newspapers and newsletters have been operating for years based entirely on advertising revenue and classifieds, and the majority of the worlds television stations can only stay in business by telling you about their sponsors and advertisers products.

The world wide web offers advertisers an low overheads, an unrivaled market reach all combined with a level of statistical feedback that traditional non-interactive media can only dream of. This makes online business extremely attractive but also extremely competitive. Advertisers need to find ways of raising awareness of their products and services against global competition. Maximizing penetration in such a massive arena would take more resources than most companies can muster. Enter the affiliate marketeers.

You, as a website publisher become an affiliate by agreeing with companies that you will promote their product on your website. In return the advertisers will pay you for bringing traffic or sales to their website. The more traffic or converted sales you bring the more you will earn for your efforts. By the same measure the more traffic you bring to your own web pages the more you potentially stand to earn from your affiliates.

At this point many affiliate marketers will disengage their brain, concentrating their efforts on bringing web surfers to their site in order to push them on to their affiliates. Often the webmasters of these sites will be well versed in search engine technology, understanding the core concepts of optimized site design, keyword targeting, external linking and content generation that will increase the “relevance” of their page in the indexes of Google, Yahoo and MSN. It is often the final, and tellingly the most time consuming of these techniques that will merit the least attention in the minds of professional web marketeers.

Often an amount of statistical analysis will take place to identify search trends and high paying affiliate industries that will potentially have the highest payout. A site will then be designed with search engine optimization at the forefront, simple coding practices that will enable an algorithm to make a good attempt at cataloging the subject matter of the page and relate it to the identified keywords. Search engine experts are also well aware that sites which are updated frequently are treated as “more relevant” in the search engine index. This is a simple equation, if you are searching for information on MP3 players you want to be presented with content telling you about the features of the latest iPod and reviewing the new competing models. You aren’t interested in reviews of a 5 year old device with the ergonomics and storage capacity of a brick.

In their rush for content a number of affiliate marketeers will turn to external sources, be it in the form of user generated content or “article directories”. Both can be useful tools for time-challenged webmasters, and particularly in the case of article directories which take the form of free to publish text on almost any subject imaginable. Simply search for an article on your particular subject of choice, paste it into you template, upload it to your site and wait for the search engines to pick it up. Presto, you are instantly a more relevant site and bumping yourself up the Google results while still leaving yourself time to spend your hard earned affiliate money at the pub.

So far, so good, but don’t forget the wisdom of your parents generation, “buyer beware” and “you get what you pay for”. Well if you are paying nothing more than a tiny fraction of your internet bill for these articles then you might want to consider the motives of the author of that lovely keyword rich article you just found.

The fact is there are many valuable articles in directories such as EZineArticles, but the mistake many webmasters make in their rush for search engine optimized content it that they don’t read, and I mean really read the text that they are merrily pasting into their site. Before hitting ctrl-c ask yourself “does this content really benefit my readers”. The chances are the best content from these services will find itself syndicated across a number of sites, or the information will be republished in differing forms. As people use their search engines to find information they will look at a number of websites and will soon realize which content has been regurgitated repeated.y. The net result is if their first impression of your site is one that offers the same old information and they won’t bother coming back.

Even worse, a number of prolific authors have an ulterior motive. They are simply trying to boost their own search relevance by increasing the number of backlinks to their own websites. If an article you find is borderline check the authors history. If they have submitted hundreds of pages of almost identical content stuffed to the gills with the same keywords the chances are they are simply link-spamming. They don’t care if you publish their content or not, each page in the directory linking back to their website in order to boost their page rank. Would your readers really be interested in such sloppy content? I’m sure mine wouldn’t.

This takes us neatly onto the key message. Why do people return to a website and hopefully trust their sponsors? Because the site has personality, your readers should be able to identify with your informational pages, hopefully they will book mark your page, even tell others to read it. Repeat visitors are far more likely to finally visit your sponsors than those who find your page once and then head back to their search engine of choice. By all means use relevant articles but never compromise your content by relying too much on third party content.

But aside from the human element there is a far more serious reason for ensuring your content is the best, and most original it can be and that is the nature of search engines. Companies such as Google know that their market position is based entirely on trust in their organic results. Expect their search algorithms in future to be tweaked against certain types of syndicated content in order to give the (perceived) best service to their searchers. Spending time now on good quality, original and easily updated content could save you time in the long run as you avoid spending time chasing your page rankings against ever more sophisticated relevance algorithms.

Quality content is a must for your Internet business. Writing quality articles that are rich in content will not only help direct more customers to your site, but also make sure that those same customers keep coming back. The adage that content is king is pretty true, the higher quality your content, the higher quality your site will be overall.

When writing an article, you should consider what your goals are. Deciding if you looking to inform, persuade or tell a narrative will direct your content and help you get started writing. Have an end goal in mind for your reader, and this will dictate your content and tone.

Here are a few guidelines:

Keep in mind, when writing an article it is best to be at least 300-350 minimum words in length, and more is better. Don’t endlessly write in a way that might bore your reader, be concise yet informative.

Have SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in mind when writing, as every article you write is another chance to win new site visitors.. You need to be careful of how many keywords you use in an article, and to pick your keywords carefully. You need to have the proper keyword density without making the article sound like spam. Search engines will filter out articles with a keyword density that is too high, keeping your article from ranking well in the SERP. (Search Engine Results Page)

Remember, it is also imperative that your article’s title be unique in order to gain its own status on the web. As long as the title is not too general, and there are no other articles on the web with the same name, you can easily track how popular your article is becoming by typing the title into a search engine surrounded by quotations.

Writing quality articles will generate more traffic from around the world, help you flesh out your site content, and ultimately grow your business overall.

Get links to your site can be a challenge but making use of article marketing as a form of internet marketing can make your job a whole lot easier. If you have a website and want to bring more traffic to your site then one way to make this happen is to write articles relevant to the subject of your business and then submit these articles to article directories over the web that are free. People searching for free content will then take your articles and use them at their site and this means you get free publicity and links for your Internet business. You get links at the article directories as well as at sites who find your article there and decide to use it on their own site.

In this case your articles can be reproduced a number of times which is good news for your developing business. Be aware too that often article directories are connected to other free article directories so your articles could end up on many websites. Your articles will feature resource boxes at the bottom that includes information about the author and also a link back to the author’s site. Here is where you can write about your business. If your articles are interesting, informative and even entertaining and sometimes amusing you will send traffic in the direction you want it, to your website and to the products and services you offer.

Both quantity of the articles you write as well as quality is important. The more articles you write and submit the more you expose yourself to potential customers. The quality of your articles matters too. Write well and write in a manner that appeals to the reader. You do not have to write about your business specfically, but you can write in an enlightening, appealing manner that shows you know what you are talking about and have something to offer your readers. Focus on them, not yourself or your business and you will generate the greatest amount of interest.

Write articles that speak to an audience of ordinary people and do not get too wordy. Write with authority but write in an easy to understand and easy to follow manner. Make sure your articles are not too long and don’t use too many adverbs or adjectives and avoid big, complicated words. Be very careful about your spelling and punctuation. Make sure you write in a professional way that demonstrates that you know what you are talking about. If you choose a topic that you only know a little about then do plenty of research before you write the article.

It is a good idea to use keywords in your articles because this makes it easier for people interested in your articles to find them. Also use headings and lists if possible because when reading over the internet people often scan the page to find exactly what they are looking for.