The Basics of Online Marketing
Want to grow your offline business, start a business, or market your services? Online marketing is the way to go. It helps you reach a broader audience, sell, connect, and much more. While internet marketing may seem complicated, once you understand the fundamentals you can build on that knowledge as your needs grow and change. Let is take a look at the basics of online marketing.

Your Website

The foundation for your business online is a website. You must have an online presence to succeed on the internet. It only makes sense. Now your website can take several different forms. It can be a blog, a brochure site, or even a storefront. The type of website you build depends largely on your business model.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization

Great, you have a website. Now what? Now you need people to visit your website and you accomplish that with what is called SEO. It is a strategy that embraces keywords and keyword phrases to attract the attention of the search engines, which in turn help your prospects find you.

For example, if someone wants to buy a new big screen television they might type ìBig Screen Television Reviews into their search engine of choice, Google for example. If you have optimized your site for that keyword phrase, they may find your site and stop by for a visit.

Email Marketing

What does a visitor do once they have stopped by your website? How do you ensure you are able to connect with them, motivate them to visit again, or trigger a purchase? You get their email address. Then you have the ability to connect with them on a consistent basis and build a relationship, sell products or services, and provide value. There are different ways to gather email addresses. You might offer a free report or book that is delivered digitally. You might ask them to become a free member or to subscribe to your newsletter.

Social Marketing

Social marketing involves connecting with your prospects on social sites like a blog, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest. The key is to provide value in the form of thoughtful commentary, information, and sometimes by entertaining. You build a relationship of trust and authority which in turn motivates visits to your website and/or purchases.

All of these elements are tactics that can work effectively together. For example, you can promote your newsletter on your Facebook page. The key to making them all work well together is to create an online marketing strategy. Online marketing is a powerful way to build any type of business. Learn the fundamentals and thrive.

Using A Free Blogging Web Site

For first time bloggers, a free blogging web site is a great way to get started in the blogosphere. Popular blogging web sites like blogger and eponym allow users to set up and host a blog without paying any fees at all. This encourages people to start blogging, because the fact that one of these sites can provide you with all of the tools that you need to get your blog up and running without spending any money means that you have nothing to lose by starting a blog. The fact that it is so easy to find a way to blog for free is one of the reasons why so many people who have never had any other kind of web presence before find themselves drawn to
blogging.

By signing up with a free blogging web site, you may find it easier to get listed in search engines that you would if you were starting your own blog from scratch. For example, google runs the free blog hosting site blogspot and crawls its pages very often looking for updates, so if you have your site hosted by blogspot you are almost guaranteed to be listed on google’s blog
search engine. This easy access to search engines can take some of the work out of promoting your blog, and can help you gain a following with a minimum of marketing effort.

If your blog attracts a large readership, you may want to consider moving your site. Many people feel that being hosted by a free blogging web site gives a blog a kind of amateur flavor that is fine for a new member of the blogosphere, but is not appropriate for a high-profile blog. Having your own domain can help you make your blog feel professional, and finding a company that will host your domain is not difficult or expensive. Once your blog takes off, you will probably be able to sell enough advertising space to be able to afford to buy a domain and pay for a hosting package, and still have money left over. However, it does not make sense in most cases to invest in these glossy luxuries before you have a sizable readership.

Starting your blog on a free blogging web site is a great way to build a following before you spend any money on your blog. If and when your blog becomes popular and you are ready to take the next step and purchase your own domain, your readers will follow you to your new home. The fact that it is possible to use a free blog host like blogspost, blogger, or eponym as a kind of incubator for your blog is great news for bloggers everywhere.

Igniting and Engaging Your Audience
A key element to building your business through social media is being able to engage with your audience. Posting for the sake of posting wouldn’t get you where you want to go. The goal is to capture attention and motivate people to not only become part of your business community but to also become lifelong customers. This requires both seizing attention and then retaining it.

Let is take a look at strategies to both ignite and engage your audience on social media.

Identify the Trigger Points

The first step to engaging your audience is identifying the types of content that they respond to. You will need to perform a bit of research and testing to accomplish this. You can use keyword searches to start. Using hashtags and your own analytics you can determine the popular topics and the content that draw people to your website.

Once you know what they are looking for, try various content formats, topics, and headlines to identify the material that generates attention and creates conversation and clicks.

Create a Strong Platform

Your audience wants to know what to expect from you. Your platform should ideally support your brand and your voice. That being said, you can be creative with your platform. For example, you can use your social media profile to provide a daily tip for your readers. You can share commentary and make your platform one that is primarily editorial. Identify what your audience wants and how you can offer them value, and then format a platform around that opportunity.

Invite Conversation

One cannot engage others without asking questions and inviting feedback. Whether you publish polls, ask for opinions, seek advice or incite controversy and start a dialogue in the goal for social media is to motivate your readers and followers to get involved. This requires a call to action. Tell your readers what to do next. If you want them to answer a question, ask them to answer a question. If you want their opinion, ask, What is your opinion?

Finally, be sure to test and track your efforts as you learn and engage. Track the posts that people really get excited about. Track the material and links that generate the most clicks. And by all means track the material that results in conversions. The more you know about your audience, the more you can provide them with the right material – the material that not only provides value but also encourages them to become an active member of your business community.

Making the Most of Your Website or Blog
Chances are you are putting a lot of time, energy, and effort into your blog or website. Are you getting the results that you want? Are you achieving your online business goals? If not, you may not be making the most of your website or blog.

Test, Test, and Test Some More

The best way to make the most of your website or blog is to test what works and what doesn’t. There are many different things you can test and ways to test. Test headlines, test calls to action and test different content formats.

For example, your audience may respond more energetically to video content than they do to print content. Or maybe they prefer reviews over how the articles. Testing is the only way to know what your audience is responding to. Once you know, then you can adapt your strategies and tactics. Split testing is often the easiest method to test.

Analytics

Analytics are almost a website or blog essential. They tell you who visits your site, how long they stay there and what pages they navigate to. Analytics can also tell you the organic keywords used, or the link used, to find your website. Google Analytics is a free tool that makes it easy to create an account and then literally cut and paste a piece of code into your site is code.

Just cutting and pasting code isn’t enough, though. You need to also review the analytics and base your strategy and decisions on the information. For example, if you find out that the majority of your visitors come from the south then you might create more content, promotions, and offers that appeal to that region.

Facilitate Engagement

If you are not encouraging participation, comments, and interaction then you are missing out. Create systems and opportunities to connect and allow conversation. Blog commenting is a start.

However, the posts need to ask questions and motivate responses. Even more, you want to reply to comments in a thoughtful manner that motivates more comments and feedback. Plug-ins that create forums, chats, and social media participation are another means to facilitate engagement.

To make the most of your website or blog, you want to create a stronger connection with your audience and visitors. By testing, using analytics to track the results, and by creating opportunities for conversation, you are able to take your site to the next level. It strengthens your relationships with your audience and helps increase traffic, opt-ins, as well as conversions and sales.

The Definition of Blogging

The definition of blogging is something that is very
much in flux, as the new technologies that appear every
day redefine what a blog is, what a blog can be, and
what a blog should do. For many years, blogs were
defined as text-based websites that kept records of days,
similar to a captain’s log on a sailing ship. However,
this started to change as the group of people who kept
blogs became more diverse. The more bloggers began
to explore the limits of the medium and of the
technology that made it possible, the more the
boundaries of what could be called a « blog » expanded.

Today, there are an abundance of photo blogs, and there
are even video blogs as well. Mobile blogging devices
may well change the definition of blogging entirely by
making it possible for bloggers to create new kinds of
posts. Another element of the blogosphere that is
starting to redefine blogging is the corporate blog. As
more companies hire writers to keep blogs with the sole
purpose of creating positive buzz about their brand,
bloggers across the globe are arguing about whether
these manufactured blogs are really worthy of the name.
Between all of these different forces that are constantly
expanding and reshaping the blogosphere, it is difficult
to imagine that the definition of what is and is not a
blog will ever remain fixed for very long.