The Culture Of Free In A Digital Universe

Who among us does not like getting something for free? Whether times are tough or not most of us appreciate not paying for something we want or like.

The world wide web has taken this to new heights. There are all sorts of sites with all sorts of content which we access for free.

Music, Art, Entertainment, Books, Sports, Games … you name it. In fact, how many of you when faced with a pay-wall for premium content simply decide to go elsewhere? I know – I've done the same thing.

You probably have to really want the content to decide to pay for it, because in most cases you can get what you're after somewhere else for free.

But this "free" content does have a price. The creators of the content certainly incur expenses in order to produce the content. So, how is it that there's so much content available for "free"?

There are several dynamics at play. In most cases the owners of large web site operations are able to monetize the traffic they receive by selling advertising, which allows them to offer content for free.

If you're able to prove that you get millions of visits each day, advertisers find this valuable and are willing to pay for the privilege of being visible on the site. Or they pay for the clicks they receive on the ads displayed on the site.

In order to continue to receive millions of visits each day, these sites require new and interesting content all of the time. After all, if the sites you visit have the same thing each day, you probably will not frequent them very often. So, how do you solve the problem of acquiring new and interesting content continuously?

If you're a News site – you rely on reporters to develop and report on stories as part of the news cycle. This is a very expensive operation, after the reporters have to be paid for their efforts. Some News sites rely on pledges from their visitors to support their operations and conduct periodic fund raising campaigns to keep their operations going. Other sites are owned by larger organizations which consider it valuable to maintain a presence on the internet and can afford the news gathering effort although they still tend to sell advertising.

A number of the large social media sites discovered the best way to acquire new and interesting content continued was to allow their visitors to provide the content themselves.

Every photo, post, update, etc. is content provided for free by the visitors and then monetized by the sites. Now this may seem like a pretty fair arrangement in this context. The visitors (you and me) get a nice site with all sorts of fresh content, we're able to connect and share with friends, and they do not charge us anything. It's FREE! Yay us!

You may not think of yourself as a content creator – but broadly defined, when you upload photos, or post videos …

Create A Web Site That Builds Trust

If someone does not know you personally, will they trust you enough to do business with you just by visiting your web site?

Most people view organizations – and web sites – they do not know with great skepticism. Given all the identity theft and viruses running around, people are understandably cautious and somewhat skeptical when they go to a new web site.

What can you do?

Here are four tips on how to create a web site that builds trust:

1. Provide your contact information

You visit wants to know that there is a real person somewhere behind your web site. Ideally, put a real person's name, full postal address, e-mail, and telephone number. Some of your visitors will want to communicate with you. Make it easy for them to do so.

2. Post testimonials

You say: "Our web site is the greatest".

Your customer says: "Yea, right."

Every business toots own own horn, and most people do not believe a word of it. But, when your customers sing your praises, it has much more credibility. Make sure that you ask your customers for short, specific testimonials. You can even ask a specific customer to speak of a particular experience with which they were pleased. The more guidance you give folks in writing these are the more helpful they will be to your viewers since they are looking for others who have had dealing with you like they may have.

Put these testimonials through your web site and include as much contact information about that customer as they will allow. Ideally you will want to put their picture, full name, and phone number or e-mail address; even clearing it with them first is always a must. And as mentioned in number 1 above, the more details you provide to show there is a real person behind that testimonial, the credibility to will have to your viewer.

3. Provide a guarantee

Who wants to get stuck making a bad purchase? Providing a guarantee helps put your potential customers at ease and makes buying from you that much more inviting. The longer and more iron-clad guarantees can not be beat. If your competitors offer a 30 day guarantee with a resting fee, why not offer a 60 day guarantee with no fees?

4. Be nice

For goodness sake, be nice to people! Your potential customers do not know as much about your product or service as you do. They may ask what seem like dumb questions – many times. It's ok. Answer them courtesly, honestly, and promptly – even if you are having one of those weeks! Let's face it, you are desiring that they are willing to fork over some of their hard earned money to you so it is always to your advantage to entertain what may seem like the most outrageous inquiries.

When you create a web site, make sure that you follow these four tips to build trust. Building a genuine website is only half of the …

Selling Custom T-Shirts Online

There are various opportunities to sell custom t shirts that you create yourself online. The shirts themselves should reflect a slogan or graphic that people will want to own because they associate it with something positive or is something that they, themselves, want to promote. You do not have to spend a lot of money making custom t shirts. You can find a website that will not only offer you the opportunity to buy these shirts for a lot less money than you think, but also to design the custom t shirts yourself.

Designing custom t shirts is a lot easier than you think when you use an interactive site. You can see how the shirt will look before you place the order and then resignation to selling the shirt online. There are various ways that you can do this. Here are a few of them:

Sell ​​them on auction websites

If you have a slogan or graphic on your custom t shirts that you feel many people will want to also wear for themselves, you can sell the shirts on sites that offer you an opportunity to sell products to people all over the world. Selling anything on auction sites is easy, even if you have never before sold a product before. Sites are very user friendly and make it easy for you to sell your custom t shirts.

Sell ​​them on your social networking page

If you have a social networking page that is devoted to a cause or is something of a fan club, you can sell your custom t shirts on this site as a way to make money for your cause or for your club. You can offer these shirts that are in line with the thoughts of others on who are your friends on your social site. You can do this even to raise money for a cause.

Sell ​​them on a website

If you have a website that is devoted to a cause, a celebrity or even a sales website, you can easily add custom t shirts to the mix. One of the best aspects about selling custom t shirts on your own website is that you can take orders for the shirts, place the order with the company and then just net in the profit.

There are various ways to make money online. Selling custom t shirts online is just one of many ways that you can put the internet to use for you. …

What Is The Paid Links Alternative For SEO?

Paid links was once a popular way of getting a website a better listing on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. These search engines work by evaluating how many times a particular web page is linked to. The ones who are linked to the most will get a better page rating on their search engines. For this reason, a lot of people began trying to figure out ways to get their sites listed across the world wide web. Paid links became one of the popular ways to go about doing this.

In short, these days there is no paid links alternative in the SEO game – at least not anymore these days. That is because Google and other major search engines have made it a policy that paid links are a bad thing. If you are dealing displaying paid links on your website, then you can get in to serious trouble. Your PageRank may be severely demoted, or deleted altogether, depending on the whims of Google.

In a way, this is a good thing, as paid links was never really a worthy SEO plan to begin with. It made websites look cramped and ugly – you would have a million pointless links that had nothing to do with the content of the website you were looking at. As the world wide web is meant first and foremost to promote the idea of ​​a virtual community, it is much better to have links on a web site that have to do directly with the content of that site. Otherwise, you just get a lot of junk clouding the world wide web, effectively diminishing the experience of surfing in cyber space.

The best way to get people to link to your site is to have premium content on your site. That should attract a lot of attention as is. Once you have your site up, if you want to expedite the process of getting people to link to your site, you can send out e-mails to likeminded web sites offering to a do a link exchange. Chances are, web sites that are similar to yours in interest will also be interested in getting as many sites to link to them as possible and will accept your offer. Not only is this a better way to get people to link to your site – it is more economic as well. …

Finding the Ideal SEO Consultant

Building a website is the first step towards making an online presence. To be successful, it has to be ensured that the website is located easily. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the way by which you can raise your site's position on popular search engines. An SEO consultant would be the person who can help you achieve this. So how can you zero in on the best SEO Consultant?

Learn some SEO techniques yourself

It's impossible to hire a good SEO consultant if you do not understand the SEO concepts yourself. There are some SEO consultancy firms that engage in risky techniques like black-hat tactics to forge results for a client. As an owner of a website, you have to remain aware of these. Most of these tactics typically backfire and result in your website being not shown in the search engines at all. So, it's always advisable to learn some SEO techniques ahead of hiring a consultant.

Determine your needs

Determine what you exactly need from your SEO consultant. Remember, search engine optimization involves multifaceted tasks and a consultant must have a diverse set of skills. These include pay-per-click campaigns, correct keyword utilization, SEO back-linking efforts etc. The consultant who is finally hired but posses all these skills. A thorough knowledge of all the search engine optimization concepts would have been added bonus.

Ask for recommendations

Visit social networking sites and forums to get trustworthy names of SEO consultants. You can also visit websites, online blogs that are broadly respected in the search engine optimization industry and seek their advice. Ensure that your needs and goals are met by the consultant.

Interview prospective candidates

Ask SEO-related questions to the prospective candidate. You can show them your website and ask them what they think about it and how it can be made better. Suggest some linking strategies and seek their opinion wherever they think these strategies would work for the website. In this way you can gauge their knowledge.

Check references, claims and rankings

Do not hire any SEO consultancy professional until you have checked and verified his credentials. Speak to his previous clients and do not merely rely on his claims. Try to search related websites for consultants and verify his testimonials. In case such websites are buried in a search engine, question the consultant about his performance on his own website before you go on to hire him. SEO consultancy is a serious thing. …

The Legend Of The Search Engine Sandbox

So what is the Google "Sandbox"?

The Google Sandbox or the "Google Aging Delay" is a much debated restriction that Google places on new websites so that they can not rank "well" in its search results for a certain amount of time. This time is supposedly to allow Google to determine weather a site is trustworthy and legal or spam. While a website said to be in the sandbox may have many strong incoming links and lots of unique and useful content, it will fail to rank high for the search terms it is aiming to be ranked for.

Why do some sites not get "Sandboxed"?

Some sites are just plain lucky to avoid the "Sandbox" and some are trying to rank in an industry that Google will consider not extremely competitive. Let's say you have a site offering "Information On Local Badminton Clubs On The Aran Islands". Google's job is to help users find relevant results. This site would be relevant and would be far less subject to spam compared to a site geared towards "Making Money Online" which has many fly by night websites trying to spam their "latest get rich scheme" into the index. It should also be noted that even if a site is subject to the "Sandbox" effect, it can still rank pretty well for what is called Long Tail results. But that is a nice advanced topic for another day.

So I'm in, how do I get out?

Unfortunately, there is no sure fire way to get out of the Google "Sandbox". There are theories that suggest placing your site on a subdomain of an established site and then using a 301 redirect to your domain once established. This is less than desirable for a variety of reasons, among them being no proof really exists for this and what company wants to be a parasite on another company's website? All you can really do is wait.

So how long?

Now here is where it gets interesting. While there is no data freely available on the aging delay Google imposes on new sites, it does seem to vary from site to site. Sometimes it looks like it's based simply on the mood Google is in. However, one thing that is almost certain is that the time spent in the "Sandbox" is directly affected by a trust factor for your site / domain. This brings us to TrustRank. I will be covering this in more detail later, but for now, lets just say that Google gives a certain level of "trust" to your site based on many factors. One of them being the age of your domain. Let's just say a new sandboxed site on a 10 year old domain would almost certainly be out of the sandbox before a site in similar terms on a recently registered domain.

So I just have to wait?

Yes and no. Yes you have to wait, but no, you can get to work on your sites trust and authority …

The Importance Of Websites For Business

Nowadays, the internet is so well known and wide spread through the globe, that if you run a business, it looks like you should have a website too. You might have some reservations initially. Is it expensive to design, to run, to update? Do I really need to have an online presence? Will it make any difference at all?

These are common questions and lots of business owners have them. Either they are getting by fine or not computer savvy enough to understand the full benefits of having a websites. The truth is that having a website will do your business no end of good and will give it a great chance of even more success. This is even more evident with home-based businesses, where a lot of the customer base is reliant on establishing a presence over the internet to expand.

By having a website, you are immediately giving your business added credibility. The internet is so big now, that people often become suspicious of businesses that do not have website. It makes them question that business and wonder why they have not got involved online yet – do they have something to hide?

In terms of marketing and finding new customers, having a website is cheaper than ad campaigns in newspapers and magazines. The cost of running a website is minimal in comparison, so in many regards, you will save money, rather than waste it. Furthermore, there are more people searching online than in magazines now, so the potential is greater with a website, especially if you cater for a global market.

Websites are always 'switched on' and so you can keep in contact with customers all day, every day. It is the ultimate in convenience, especially if you work from an office that is closed during the evening.

One of the greatest benefits of having a website is that your target market is instantly expanded beyond anything you used to have. A global audience is at your fingertips, which, for a business can mean some really exciting prospects. The website will also give you the opportunity to 'show off' your brand and identity. With the use of great graphics, reviews, testimonies etc. you can really start to express your business how you always wanted to.

There are lots of other benefits to having a website; not least that it saves time in all kinds of different ways, such as retaining information, sending emails out, updating details etc. They also make customer service so much simpler and more efficient. Emails save paper, time, energy and money and that's just the start of it. Your business desires to have a website, so start looking into it and establish an online presence. …

Explode Traffic and Revenue

Do you ever have the feeling that everyone else is getting traffic to their website, except you? Is your revenue less than what you had hoped for? Do you have any sales and revenues at all? If the answer to even one of these questions is YES — then this article is for you.

Are you ready to kick your website up a notch and get your traffic and revenues into a hyper active mode! Any one of them can make a shocking improvement to your traffic and revenues.

Let's get started:

Tip # 1: Take This In The Right Way, But: Is Your Website Boring? Is it plain and / or drab? Add exciting colors, shorter content paragraphs, professional graphics, banners and ads.

On average, users visiting your home business web site develop an immediate sense of interest (or not) about your site within 10-15 seconds. A lot of long boring text, amateur graphics, layout and design of the site will drive them away almost immediately.

Add lots of action oriented text, designed to prompt them into the action you are asking them to take.

You literally have seconds to grab their attention and keep it before they move on. You have them on your home business web site. Make sure you keep them there!

Tip # 2: If Your Web Site Is A Sales Page – Show Only The Features And Benefits TO THE CUSTOMER. Help them understand what is in it for THEM. How the product will improve, enhance, and make their lives better.

Forget about trying to convince them on how great it is. This WILL NOT CAUSE a single sale to happen. Help them see how purchasing the product will make their lives better to have your product or service.

Tip # 3: For Most Websites, Free Content and Great Content Rules. It continues to be the case that an expectation has been established that internet visitors are absolutely crave free information of as high quality as possible. If it is free, then all the better.

Tip # 4: Get all those ads off your website. Ok, not really, just clean those up so at least they do not look so obvious! Visitors are completely turned off by websites (home based or regular sites) which are full of advertisements.

There are lots of ways to clean the text up (even the Google ads) to blend them into the website by coloration, etc. that not only looks less like an ad, but also closely matches the look of other information on your website.

Tip # 5: Generate more revenue by replacing Google Ads with Affiliate Program links.

You will be pleasantly surprised when your revenue checks increase dramatically from sales contracts versus Google Ad- "cents"!

Tip # 6 Check Your Website Links Over and Over! No matter how careful you are, if you are adding programs, websites, sales opportunities, you will occasionally have a bad link.

If you are a large business, sometimes you can afford …

What Does Make Money on Your Website Or Blog?

This article will have a look at the different ways to make money from your website or blog. To help you avoid all the scams about, these are just THE BEST WAYS.

Selling Your Own Product

If you take the time to research the market and create you own quality product you can make money.

There are many info products out there showing you ways to do this. But be warned most of what I read is just plain pie-in-the-sky rubbish. However, if you look around there are one or two that show you ways that work.

If you want you could make something at home. Someone I know makes these woolly purses and sells them on eBay. She does not do too poorly either.

Another way is if you know useful tips or information that others would gladly pay for. This is not as easy as it looks.

The main thing is knowing or finding information valuable enough for someone to pay for. Problem number 2 is letting people know about your product. And of course you have to know how to write sales letters that work. (That's a true skill in itself.) If you paid someone to write your sales page for you you'd better make sure you've got several thousand dollars lying around.

If this what you decide to do make sure you spend a lot of time finding out how to do it properly. Or else you'll just be wasting your time.

Affiliate Marketing

This is a craze which is still going strong. The idea is that you find products you know people will want to buy being sold by a website. Then you go to the site and sign up for their free affiliate program.

You get a unique link which you then put up and hope many people will click to the website. If they buy the website pays you decisions on average around 50% of the price paid.

Quite exciting when you think you could promote an endless amount of products. Nothing to make or sell. Just tell people about the products and get them to click your link.

Thousands of people are already doing this. But a word of warning. Not only is there a lot of competition but you have to know the tricks of the trade to get people to click your affiliate link.

Affiliates have found that people seem to avoid clicking affiliate links. Meaning they bypass you and go directly to the website. No commission for you. Sad but true.

But if you want to do this there are a few people good at doing this. So go and learn from them how to go about it.

Selling Advertising Space

This is simply getting paid by someone to advertise their website or business. You could place the advert on your website, blog, in email signatures, free ebook, your fence, t-shirt, etc. The opportunities are endless.

Again there are people who are successful doing this. But first I would …

Writing for People and Search Engines

Writing for the search engines is much different than writing in any other medium. Search engines are finicky, but they love text, so you're talking their language. When writing your web content, it's important to keep the following three things in mind.

1. What You Want the Reader to Do: While writing your content, keep the overall objective of the page in view. Think about what you want the reader to do. Do you want them to sign up for something? Click to another page? Buy something? Visit your store? Download an e-book? Whatever it is you want them to do, keep that in mind as you write.

2. Search Engine Optimization: Remember the search engines as you write too. Usually it's better to do a quick draft without thinking of the search engines first, then later, come back and optimize the writing of the page. We will get into the details of how to make your web content friendly to search engines later. For now, just remember that it's one of those things you have to keep in mind as you write your web content.

3. How people use the web. Know that people do not use the web like we sometimes think they do. People are more likely to briefly scan your writing rather than to dig-in and read it. Keep your content should be relevant and informational and conversational. People do not want to read a book, they want to be informed. Give them the information they crave and they'll keep coming back for more.

Now that you know what to keep in mind as you write your classic web content, we are going to discuss the different elements of search engine optimization. The good thing about SEO is that your page will show up at the top of search engines so that people – lots of people – will actually be able to read what you've written. What a concept!

The SEO Lowdown

Keywords

Keywords are what drives search engines optimization. Here's how it works:

* People type words into the search boxes at Google.

* Google goes through all the pages it already knows about … these pages are in its database because they've been crawled and indexed beforehand.

* Google delivers webpages that match the keywords the searcher uses to find what they're looking for.
When Google comes to your page, the only way they know it's good for the search is by keywords – period.

More About Keywords

We've already established that you need keywords woven through the content of the page, right? You also need keywords in your title. Here's a few other things to know about keyword placement in your webpage.

* Do not overdo it. Do not gross people out by sticking keywords everywhere. That's not good business. Be discreet when inserting keywords in your website content (hint, hint).

* If you are optimizing for a certain keyphrase, you must keep the phrase in tact through the page content for …