Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 11, 2009
SEO and Social Networking training class in Denver Feb 25 will be led by “me” Marty Dickinson. This is a special one because the entire class is entirely “hands-on.” No need to bring your laptop because every attendee will have a computer to use anyway. Limit to class size is just 20. The Google SEO class will be in the morning from 9 to noon and then Social Networking setup will be the afternoon. Register for one or both. Check out the press release we ran a couple of days ago that goes into some detail about why we chose New Horizons as your learning center for this event.
If you know of someone who really needs to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for getting pages of their website on Google, suggest they attend this class. Perfect for web designers who have not yet learned about SEO. Also great for the non-technical business owner who would love to learn to optimize their own pages but just doesn’t think they have the technical skills to pull it off. You will be using LIVE data on pages of a website and shown how to optimize them. Then you will actually upload those to a real live web server so that you can go back to your business that night and work on your own pages without worry of breaking anything!
Class #2 is a set-up class where we will target 5 of the most prominent social networking sites: FaceBook, Twitter, Linked-in, Squidoo, and MySpace. Bring a photo of yourself if you have one.
With the other 27 class sessions we have planned for 2009, I can’t promise I’ll be doing these two classes again soon. So, if either or both of these classes would save you some money from paying someone else to do it, or you want to learn the inside secrets to making all of these things work together, this is your day to attend.
It’s time to learn how to do these Internet tasks on your own. That’s why we’re creating DoItMySelfInstitute.com. Be one of the first to attend. Hope to see you there.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jan 29, 2009
Last week I walked you through the ins and outs of the top Social Media site, Squidoo. Since it’s one of the top 500 most visited sites in the world, I thought you (and your company) would benefit from such a great marketing tool. We had a little contest on who could come up with the best Squdioo lens promoting their business, product or service. Sandy Dixon, owner of Interior Arrangements is our winner!
Sandy’s company opened it’s doors in 2002 and is a nationally known success center for training people on the ABCs of starting and maintaining a professional real estate home staging career. Sandy is a former Realtor® and sales, marketing and training executive. Interior Arrangements also offers redesign/staging workshops for both existing business owners and those looking to start a new career.
Sandy designed a Squidoo Lens is titles “Sell My House Quickly and For a Good Price!” It’s a grabbing title with a few good keywords in there which will help her with getting ranked in the Search Engines like Google, MSN, and Yahoo! In the introductory module she grabs visitors again by pulling in the state of the economy “Home Staging Sweeps the Nation as the Foreclosure Rate Soars to an All-Time High!” The economy is a very hot topic, and she used that to her advantage. This is a great way to trigger emotions in your visitors…
One of the challenges in writing copy is that it is very difficult to get inside of your customer’s head and view the problem or solution from THEIR side of the table. This is where market research comes in handy. How about a quick copywriting tip?
- One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is to stop looking at your product or service as a means to make you money (that will just naturally happen if you market it the right way). Instead, start looking at your product as a solution to a problem. What problem does your target customer face every day that would make them want to buy YOUR product versus any other product of its kind? Switching the way you approach writing will boost sales and give you repeat business.
In Sandy’s Squidoo Lens, she continues her post by providing 3 great tips to selling your house quickly – something that a lot of people will be interested to read. “Lists” are such a great way to approach writing. You could do a lens on “The 7 Reasons Why x Is Better Than y”, or “3 Reasons You Have to Switch Mobile Providers Today” – etc. Lists make for an easy read, and with the world in such a “rush” people appreciate you catering to their busy schedules – WHILE giving them valuable information.
And last, it’s always a good idea to add pictures or video into your posts – even for your blog. For example, if you visit Sandy’s blog at www.StagingTutor.com – you will see she usually tries to add examples of what she talks about, in picture form. I usually always have an image or video in each of my blog posts. Don’t you think it makes what you’re reading more interesting and helpful?
Shoot me a comment and tell me about your blog (give me the URL too). I’d love to see how you guys are using information like this to build your business.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Aug 26, 2008
I finally came out of my cave Monday afternoon after finishing the required 70% complete deadline for my portion of the Web Marketing All-in-One Desk Reference for Dummies book due in bookstores everywhere March/April 2009 (Wiley Publishing, publishers of the “For Dummies” books). John Arnold of Constant Contact (E-mail), Ian Lurie & Elizabeth Marsten of Portent Interactive (SEO, AdWords, Social Networking, blogs), and just added, Michael Becker (Mobile Marketing) from Iloop Mobile (personally can hardly wait to see what he’ll be adding about THAT very hot topic!).
When I was asked what I would like to write about, I immediately said, “the money part of course” So, I get the first section of the book which will be covering topics like:
- Converting more visitors to paying customers
- Writing promotional copy that sells
- Shopping cart setup
- Finding and promoting affiliate products
- Starting and building your own affiliate program
- Joint venturing
- Which website type is the best for you
- Design components that sell
- Hiring helpers so you’re not doing everything yourself
More coming on this topic coming soon but I have to mention that something else has happened in the process of writing this book, which is now listed on Amazon by the way. I think I’ve had more leads for business in the past two months than the first six months of this year combined. How could that be? I haven’t been doing anything differently in my promotions than usual. Must be the book. Just by telling people about it, people are talking about it. The book isn’t even out yet and people are talking about it. We’re not even finished writing it yet and people are already talking about it. Strange but true.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Aug 22, 2008
Whenever the conversation turns to Internet Marketing one name comes up more often than any other name…Armand Morin. Armand is the Expert that the experts turn to and watch for direction.
I first met Armand in 2000 at a conference where he was NOT a speaker. Yes he too was once an “attendee” sitting in an audience learning form other speakers. And, that’s my point. People are always asking me, “Marty, HOW do you learn this Internet marketing stuff?” And, I tell them how much I spend a year on attending conferences and buying educational materials.
In the BIGinning
The BIG Seminar is the place where it all starts. It’s the only Internet marketing conference I attend EVERY time. Why? Because Armand only picks truly cutting edge presenters and gives them plenty of time to deliver tons of content I usually begin implementing throughout the weekend of the conference! Yes, I don’t even wait until I get back to start. I’m too energized to wait! While others are partying at the bar, I’m up until 3am trying out what I learned on my laptop.
Who Attends Big Seminar
The audience is made up of about 40% that are brand stinkin’ new to the web, but you could be sitting next to a multi-millionaire who has dozens or even hundreds of websites. And, that’s one of my favorite things about Big Seminar. You just never know who you’re going to meet.
If you are strapped for cash, Big Seminar is the ONLY conference I would recommend you attend coming this October 3, 4, and 5 in Atlanta Georgia. And, if you can’t afford a couple thousand dollars toward your own education, you NEED to attend more than others! It’s the only conference I can honestly say pays for itself, for me, within the first week after the conference. It’s that good.
Now, let’s be real…
Big Seminar has an affiliate program. That means if I refer others to attend, I get some of the bucks. Basic sales and basic Internet stuff. And sure, when you register, of course I want you to Register Here through my affiliate link. But, there’s something more…
I always offer to my clients that when they attend the Big Seminar, if they’ve registered through my link (which they always do), they will get to meet with me as a small focus group on Friday and Saturday night in a private meeting room where we can go over what was covered during the day. I answer any questions they have and it really helps to have someone to put everything together into a summary of steps and fill in the blanks. Then, when we get back (because I always fly home on late Sunday afternoon), we schedule a conference call to go over what was covered on Sunday.
See, going to something like Armand Morin’s Big Seminar is not only overwhelming from a content and learning standpoint, but just the sheer experience of it all requires some savvy to navigate through. After all, you’re in an audience with typically 500 or more people. Just meeting the one right person you needed to meet could change your whole life…and your income! But, how do you navigate through Big Seminar?
You need a guide. Someone who’s been there. Someone who knows most of the presenters, staff, and a good chunk of who will be in the audience too. Let me be your guide.
Not Sure Yet?
One of Armand’s trademarks is having phone interviews with the speakers leading up to the conference. Would you like to sit-in as Armand talks with other experts and they discuss their Internet Marketing Secrets?
You can…and it’s free.
Every Tuesday and Thursday up until the BigSeminar Armand will host a FREE training call with one of the expert Faculty from his upcoming Big Seminar. They will discuss what they’re doing on the Internet and how they do it.
The calls are FREE…click here now to register for the calls.
Calls times, phone number Passcode etc. will be immediately sent to you via email.
If you’re wondering where all those Internet marketing folks go to learn what’s new and what really works to build a business and increase sales, Armand’s Big Seminar is the place to be. I hope you’ll join me and take me up on my invitation to attend the after-hours meetings to go through things. After you register, be sure to let me know. You can contact me through the Ask Marty contact form.
And, I hope to see YOU at Big Seminar October 3, 4, and 5 2008 in Atlanta!
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Aug 5, 2008
The question “What fonts can I use besides arial on my website?” came in from one of my “Small Doses” subscribers where I offer Internet marketing and business growth tips…well, in small doses. Thanks for the question and here’s the answer. The font types you choose for the text areas of your website should be whatever font type you KNOW for certain your visitor’s computers have the capability of displaying on their screen the same as you intended when you wrote the page on your screen. Unfortunately, you never know for sure.
Said another way, stick to fonts that are considered “safe.” My favorites are Trebuchet and Verdana when I want to be “different” but stick with “arial” when I want to be professional because it’s safe.
Here’s a great resource to use when trying to identify which font is best for your site. The Installed (%) means what percentage of computers have that particular font installed on them.
Now, just because Microsoft Sans Serif is right on top of the list doesn’t mean that would be the best fit for use for your website. But, it does show why Arial Black, Verdana and Arial are so widely used–because people have come to realize that most computers have those fonts loaded.
This display also shows that Garamond might not be such a predictable choice, even though many web designers choose it.
If you must use a font that is not high on the list, that’s your opportunity to use the font in an image instead of the main text of the site. That way, any computer will still be able to see the wording the way you intended it to be seen.
Don’t go too overboard with using images to display your text, however. You need a lot of text on your pages so that search engines will be able to evaluate your content for placement.
Interesting how we have lots of choices when it comes to using fonts besides the common Arial 10-point. Then again, maybe we don’t have as many choices as we thought. Anyway, just thought you’d like to see this chart. Have a great day!
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jul 31, 2008
Maybe it was the anticipation with all the pre-hype. Maybe it was the hope for something better. Mabye some just wished Google would feel some pain (not that they are without challenge anyway). The new Cuil.com search engine (pronounced “cool”) was launched on Monday and all week webmasters and SEO professionals have been in a mad frienzy trying to figure out if Cuil will be the “Google Killer” everyone in the online industry has been waiting for or if it’s just a quick throw-together search system to attract Microsoft to spending a few billion on a new company after a big hit.
Cuil was formed by some former Google employees who helped take Google’s search system to the next level. Classic case of employees getting together and leaving the company to go do their own thing and make a million bucks right? That’s where the questions arose. More on that later. First, check this out…
I’m going to throw my 2 cents into the ring about Cuil. First, let’s use an example to demonstrate what al the fuss is about. If I search Google for one of my websites MusicMates.com which is a national musician referral but based out of Colorado, here’s what I get:
Now let’s take a look at the new Cuil search engine’s results where I also searched for Colorado musician referral. Notice how there are 3 columns results instead of how Google displays only two. That’s actually my first question about Cuil is why they chose three columns? If we’ve been conditioned by all search engines to look in the top left corner for search results, wouldn’t it make sense to just have two column results? And, second, if you have three columns, and I click on one of the three columns, will the most accuarate results be going down the column or across the top? Or, did they figure my Music Mates site has the most focus so, the #1 search result is really in the middle of the page?
The next thing to consider is Cuil’s relevance of search results. Consider the image below where my Music Mates site listing is surrounded by other sites that have links to Music Mates. Now, how could a site that is so well optimized for a state be listed less in relevance than another site linking to it? I mean as a search engine, the whole idea is to showcase the main website that the links point to as the source or, in this case, the online tool.
Then a blowup of the left side of the screen with my MusicMates description in the same spot, just looking at the two left columns below now. How did that “I/disturbing photos” get there? And, how could it be more relavent than my Music Mates posting?
Then, shown to the top is a single musician referral that could arguably be in competition with Music Mates. That’s not a good percentage for Cuil in my opinion.
Now, you might think, okay Marty, so the dudes in the top left beat you out. Stop whining and optimize Music Mates better! Well, when I clicked through that link, here’s what I got. I have no idea where Cuil picked up that “Musician Referral Services” image. It’s nowhere to be found in the site that you get to after the click through. I have no idea why Cuil does not consider Music Mates to be a higher authority since that’s ALL music mates does is “musician referral” whereas this directory gets top position as shown:
Even if you click through the next page Arts & Enterntainment Music link in the top left, you still don’t get anywhere close to finding a dedicated musician referral site, certainly not one better than Music Mates (me biased). And, I can think of a dozen or so organized referrals that SHOULD be listed here but are not. Why is that if they claim to have more istings already than Google does?
Some webmasters are suggesting it’s because Cuil is listing all the crap and duplicate page content that Google has spent all these years trying to get rid of. Personally, I think the Cuil crew knew exactly what would happen. If they launched the best search results they could out of the gate, there would be little room for improvement.
With quite a few imperfections in Cuil, there’s nowhere for them to go but up. Certainly, there could be room for someone to sweep in and buy their technology, but I don’t see that as being very attractive to Microsoft. The MS search is certainly better than Cuil already and Cuil does not “yet” feature a pay-per-click model. And, that’s really what Microsoft is after…the money!
Take a look at Cuil.com and search for your website and maybe a few competitors. Share your views here. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see what happens to Cuil in 6 months. Eithe they’ll get their act together and really become competitive by offering quality search results, or it could all just go by the wayside. Who knows, at least they got some great press coverage out it although the backlash from users was pretty brutal.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 10, 2008
This morning was racquetball morning at the local rec center, another grueling 90 minutes of Marty and my friend Dave battling for survival and recognition. He wore his power-blue shirt and I had my usual glare that never gives up.
There are plenty of future blog posts I could make using racquetball as an example to relate to Website Waves topics. But, this time I wanted to respond to a question one of my clients asked me yesterday. She wanted to know how she could just make another $500 a month.
At the rec center this morning, there was a posting for janitorial help for $9/hour. For a mere 14 hours of work per week, she could have her extra $500 a month.
But I have a better idea and you won’t have to spend a dime…and I don’t even think it would take 9 hours a week to get to $500 per month.
There’s a social networking system called Ning.com. You start a new account for yourself and then once you have an account, you create a website topic. After answering a few questions, your social networking website is live. Your url will become yourtopicofchoice.ning.com so choose that name carefully chock full of keywords!
The great thing about Ning.com is that it allows you to post a forum and a blog with a whole slew of security measures to prevent people from doing certain unfavorable things in their posts. And, I haven’t found a reason yet why you would need a programmer to help, unless you really want to customize. But, first things first.
Why not spend two or three hours building a social network of your own about a topic you’re interested in and begin to monitize it? By adding a couple of affiliate program links to the left column and letting others come to your site to post experiences and questions, you would be surprised how easy it is to generate that extra $500 per month…all with a system that won’t charge you a dime.
Of course, Ning.com has upsells like applying your own domain name or allowing you to add your own Adsense code to the right column, but Ning.com is great for letting you get a feel for a social networking system and getting some monetizing going without ever charging you. Then, you can upgrade once things are paying for themselves. And, you know that’s my favorite part of the web when things pay for themselves.
Let me know your comments on whether you’ve used Ning.com or something else to get your social network going.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 23, 2008
As I was saying yesterday, I kind of went into “bloggernation” mode (that would be the merging of the words blogging and hibernate for the unaware) so that I could learn more about what makes blogs successful. I knew I was missing so many things, but I really had no idea how much until I went through the “re-setup” process of Website Waves.
Most of the posts from before yesterday I let alone, some I deleted. Pretty much EVERYTHING about this blog is different now. It took me about 6 hours of searching free blog theme directories (and installing them to see what they really look like on “my” blog) before I found this one.
Then, I installed 7 of 9 essential [no, essential is too weak of a word--how about, "YOU BETTER INSTALL THESE OR I'LL PERSONALLY COME OVER THERE AND..."] plug-ins.
The other two get installed today. Then I have to create my header graphic which I will attempt to do myself so who knows!
Now, the point of this post is that (other than finding the theme) I followed a step-by-step process. The process evolved from some client projects I was working with. One of those was The Capital Factor blog. We used a blog to promote the conference event. Several times per week our staff was making blog posts. But, we had to have the setup right.
So, as I spend hours, days, and eventually weeks to arrive at the perfect setup for The Capital Factor, I kept track of what I did in a notebook and documented what worked, what didn’t, and what I needed for things to work better. By the time The Capital Factor event came to pass, I had a 6-page document procedure in my hands.
Then came the big test. I had to put the process to the test. So, I chose another client project and gave it a try. It worked! It only took me an hour to go through all the setup steps. And, of course I made some modifications to the process along the way…always discovering something new y’know.
Then I thought, “Silly, you have another product now!”
So I called it my Ultimate Blog Setup Checklist and offered it as a free download. Go get it for yourself, because if you have a blog and are not working through the components of my Ultimate Blog Checklist, I fear you might be the next to find yourself bloggernating in some cave when your blog produce.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jul 26, 2007
Another one of my clients got pitched again…
“We will submit your web site and its related keyword to 800000 search engines once per month for 1 year. You can expect to start seeing results within 60 days. Your web site will climb up that ladder of other web sites on various search engines.”
All for $199 they claim.
Sounds too good to be true? It is, don’t worry! Here’s what the seo services companies know you don’t know if this offer is intriguing to you:
1) As a general rule, I am against pay-per-month, automated search engine submission systems. Search engines are too. If you submit your site every month to google, it will only be a matter of months before your site is blacklisted for spamming google.
2) There are only 40 or so main databases that all search engines draw from so when someone (and I hear this a lot) claims that your site will be submitted to 80,000 search engines, red flags go up in my mind.
3) No one will get you better search positioning unless someone (you or them) gets into your website to make changes to the pieces that matter to the search engines. The question to ask them is “who” will study the makeup of every page of your site and spend the time to make those changes.
With that said, I know that technology is ever changing and eventually there will be some sort of magic bullet for this. So, I would advise that if you choose to go that route, and just can’t stand the idea of paying more than a couple hundred bucks for someone to do the job right for you, that you create another web site or mini-site about something related to your topic and give it to them to do their magic with.
If that site can go for 6 months on its own at the top of the search engines like they claim, without getting blacklisted by google, then you might consider getting them involved with your bread & butter site. But, I would never use an automated submission tool or service with a main site until it was proven with another site that doesn’t matter.
Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jul 25, 2007
I learned from a blog post that Google is now accepting a new meta tage called unavailable-after. This new function will essentially list a page of your website until a certain date and then delete it from its index after that date. Perfect if you have a special offer on your site that someone must buy before a specific date. Also good if you are holding workshop registrations online and don’t want to feature the event after a certain date.
But what intrigued me about this particular addition is that meta tags are pretty much bottom of the totem pole when it comes to assisting with positioning your website in the serps. Google is now resorting once again to meta tags. Could this be a reversal in time where it was once meta tags that ruled the earth?