May 31 2012

The Benefits of Article Marketing for Your Business

 

Article marketing has proven to be an effective way to promote your online business for a number of reasons. They are the equivalent of infomercials on the TV, giving both interesting factual information and promoting products and services that can help solve a particular problem.

In addition, article marketing can drive traffic to your site, help you get subscribers for your newsletter, and help you improve your page ranking with certain search engines. Links back to your site or products from other sites can be perceived by Google as a vote for your site, indicating that it is interesting and relevant to a particular keyword.

Article marketing is the use of factual articles on niche topics to help drive traffic to your own site. Rather than a pure promotional piece, these articles will contain high-quality information and leave the reader eager for more. On the top article directories such as Ezinearticles, your content will appear attractively and at the end of the article you will be allowed to give promotional data about yourself in the form of a resource box.

In your resource box you would put a brief biography of yourself and your contact information, including a link over to your site.

Article marketing has become a popular way to spread the word about your business in a non-spammy way on a wide variety of sites around the Internet. It has also been used to boost the rank of a site in the eyes of search engines like Google, though with the April 2012 Google update, these links are not only valued less highly, but can even be penalized under the Penguin algorithm update. (See Joan Mullally’s guide on 44 Marketing Trends in 2012 for more information.)

The more articles you put into the directory, the better will your site’s search results will be because the site will be considered to be more relevant. Sites at the top of Google’s search engine results pages will get more natural traffic, also termed organic traffic, that is, traffic that is not paid for, as compared with Pay Per Click (PPC) traffic.

Some article directories have gained a reputation for publishing rubbish, but there are still some reputable ones that will help add to your online presence. Look at it this way. If someone uses those sites regularly and types in dog training, you have a better chance of being found and ranking highly on the article directory for that key phrase than you do on Google.

If visitors then like what they read and click to find out more about you, you have the potential for a repeat visitor and perhaps even subscriber and customer.

Some people advocate publishing an incomplete article to force people to come to your site, but this seems fairly obvious as a marketing ploy and can be frustrating for the reader.

Other Internet marketers offer good articles off site at the directories but lead them to a rubbish site full of ads with the express goal of getting ad revenue from the clicks they get on the ads and banners they have put up all over the site. This is a valid way of making money, but certainly not loyal repeat visitors, which we feel are the life-blood of any long-term, sustainable online business.

Still other sites are publishing articles which are incomplete and poorly written in an effort to get as many up as possible for the sake of the links and the page rankings. The recent changes to the Google Panda update that first hit in Feb 2011 and has now hit online business owners in April 2012 can actually trigger a site review by a human being. If your site fails, you can end up in a penalty box for 3 to 6 months, which would cause the traffic at most sites to plummet.

The trend towards article marketing has also led to a lot of copied content or rephrased content, which we commonly refer to as spun content. Content spinning through software or human means was designed to help business owners rank highly for as many keywords as possible related to the niche they were working in.

With the recent Google changes, duplicate content and keyword stuffing in poorly written articles generated by a computer will also get you penalized if you are not careful.

Article marketing is not dead, but it is certainly in need of an overhaul in 2012. If you have been cranking out a lot of poor-quality articles, slow down and let your quality start to come through. Do not try to take short cuts. After all, the content that you produce is a reflection of the information products that you are trying to sell online. If you see all of your content on your site and article directories as a free sample of what people can look forward to if they buy your product, you might be able to make more sales of your products.

At the very least, you can start to position yourself as a knowledgeable expert on your niche without being seen as a spammer. Combined with other search engine optimization techniques, article marketing done correctly can still be a valuable source of traffic to your site and a measure of relevance and therefore rank so long as you know what Google is looking for, and what they are penalizing.

FURTHER READING
SEO Success Secrets: How to Master Search Engine Optimization Techniques for Continuous Free Traffic to Your Website

44 Top Online Marketing Trends in 2013: How to Use Them to Increase Your Profits

Jan 31 2012

The Pros and Cons of Internet Banking

Online banking has become very popular in the past couple of years  for simple banking transactions. Online banking can make actively managing your financial life much more simple and less time-consuming. With an internet bank, you’ll be able to monitor your accounts, pay bills, and transfer money, all with the click of a button.

But if you are considering online banking, and in particular, Internet only banking, remember that internet (or “direct”) banks are not always a viable substitute for brick-and-mortar banks in all cases. To help you decide whether to switch to online, stay with traditional banking, or do a combination of both, let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of Internet banks.

The Advantages of Internet Banks

1. Banking convenience.

Direct banking institutions are open for business anywhere and any time you have a web connection. They will sometimes perform maintenance on their site, but otherwise, they will be open 24/7 to help you manage your finances.  Your account balance and information are can be accessed with a just few keystrokes and you can also send yourself alerts to help you manage your money better.

2. Better interest rates, lower fees.

Infrastructure and overhead costs are minimal and allow Internet banks to pay higher interest rates on savings accounts while charging lower loan and mortgage rates. There are even accounts with no minimum balance or service fees that can be opened without a minimum initial deposit. Just put in your personal details, and get started.

3. Extensive financial information.

Internet banks normally have better-quality websites than traditional banks, with more comprehensive content. Such features can include functional budgeting and forecasting tools, online financial planners, investment analysis tools, loan calculators, retirement calculators, and more. They can help you with budgeting and financial planning long before you have to speak to a specialist.

4. Banking wherever you are.

Internet banking now almost always includes mobile capabilities that will send you text messages, email messages, let you bank through an app, and more. New applications are continuously being created to further expand and improve this capability on smart phones and other mobile devices, so if you love to keep up to date on the latest technology and stay on top of your money, you will enjoy all the features an Internet bank has to offer.

5. Easy electronic transfers.

While traditional banks do allow funds to be moved via electronic transfer, often there is a fee. Most internet banks offer unlimited transfers at zero cost. This even includes transfers to outside financial institutions. They also accept authorized direct deposits and withdrawals, such as payroll deposits and automatic bill payment.

6. Simple to get started, simple to use.

Online accounts are quite easy to set up, and don’t require any more information than a traditional bank account. If you don’t want to complete the application online, the forms can be downloaded and mailed. Online checks are actually easier to use, since the payee information is automatically saved for future use. You can also often connect with your top financial software, such as Excel and Quicken.

The Disadvantages of Internet Banking

1. Lacks the personal touch.

A regular bank does offer a better opportunity to develop a personal relationship. These connections can help when you need a loan or other special service. Your local bank manager also has some discretion when you’d like an overdraft fee removed. You can talk to a human being more easily if they are just down the block than online miles away.

2. Transaction fees.

Complicated transactions and large cash transactions can be challenging with an online bank. Most Internet banks don’t have their own ATMs, though some have begun to form network alliances with traditional banks. But in most cases, ATM use will cost you unless you can find a nearby machine.

3. Available services.

Some Internet banks may not have the full range of financial services that a traditional bank has, such as insurance offerings and notarization. They might not have physical branches at all. It might also be hard to find an ATM linked to their system without having to pay high fees. (See above.)

4. Security concerns/online identity theft.

Internet banks are required to obey the same laws and regulations as a traditional bank, and the FDIC insures the bank accounts. However, having electronic access to your accounts always carries some additional risk to your data, regardless of whether you’re using a traditional bank or an Internet bank. With many people worried about identity theft, you might want to consider the decision to bank online or via your phone carefully before proceeding.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both online and traditional banking. Your ultimate solution might be to utilize both types of banks. Use the pros and cons highlighted above in relation to your own decision, and see if online banking is right for you.

FURTHER READING

Eternal Spiral Books: Money Matters Series