One of the best ways to achieve personal and financial freedom is to set up your own business. But many people running their own businesses seem to end up a ‘slave‘ to the business rather than having any freedom at all. One way of having your own business without many of the drawbacks is to sell other people’s products as an Affiliate.
The best way to do this these days is via the internet. It gives you a global market and can be run from your own PC or laptop at home. You simply choose a marketplace you feel comfortable with and have some knowledge of, locate suitable products for that market that have an affiliate program and sign up as an affiliate, then promote the product via the internet. Every time you make a sale you will earn a proportion of the sale price as commission.
The real ‘freedom factor’ here is that the product vendor gets to do all the customer supply and support stuff while you just have to go off and spend your commission. Isn’t that great? 🙂
But, as easy as that looks, there is quite a bit of work to do to get set up, locate a market, source products and set up a marketing system. However, there is a shortcut that you can use to get started very quickly and give you the experience you need to build on in the future. This shortcut goes by the name of ‘ClickBank‘, the worlds largest affiliate network. ClickBank acts as a sort of middleman between merchants (the guys with the products) and the affiliates (you). There are considerable benefits to becoming a ClickBank affiliate but also a few snags to look out for that caught me out when I first became a ClickBank affiliate and I don’t want you to trip over them.
Now I could write a whole series of articles here about how to profit from ClickBank but I can do better than that. A fellow Brit has become one of the leading ClickBank experts on the planet and he has written an excellent book called ‘ClickBank for Newbies‘ which I heartily recommend. What’s more he has agreed to let my readers have it for nothing to let you get started the right way. That’s right, it’s a freebie, he’s a really great guy! What’s more, you don’t have to opt-in to any newsletter or give your email address, just download it right here.
If you just want to know more about affiliate marketing check out Learn Affiliate Marketing.
If you want to know more about starting and running your own business go to Be Your Own Boss.
But if you want to do it the easy way here’s the link to your free book ClickBank for Newbies
Having got the page title and description (the invisible bits) out of the way in my earlier post, it’s time to turn our attention to the visible parts of a web page. From both an SEO point of view and from the visitor’s viewpoint the most important elements of the page are the page headline and the paragraph headings.
The headline tells them what the page content is going to be about and the paragraph headings introduce the specific part of the page subject that will be covered in that paragraph. This is just good writing style and this is why the search engines love good headlines and headings. So how do the search engines know which part of the text is the headline and which are paragraph headings? That comes from a piece of magic called HTML.
HTML is the language of the web, web pages are written in HTML code or some variant of it. This code consists of elements called tags which describe how a piece of text or an image should appear on the viewer’s screen. The tags we are interested in today are the heading tags. There are six of these and they take the form <H1>, <H2>, all the way through to <H6>.
When coding for best SEO, most people will use <H1> for the page headline, <H2> for paragraph headings or section headings and the other <H> tags for various other pieces of text requiring emphasis such as captions etc. There should only be one <H1> tag on each page so as not to confuse the search engines as to the topic of the page, other <H> tags can be used as often as necessary.
When optimising a web page, the <H1> tag should contain the key phrase you wish to associate with the page, i.e. the phrase you want to optimise the page for. In order to re-inforce the optimisation of the page further you can use related or similar key phrases as <H2> paragraph or section headings. The collection of keywords so used indicate to the search engines the topic or theme of that page thus making it easier for the search engines to include the page in the result listings when anyone searches for that particular topic.
Ideally the key phrase used in the headline should be the same as that used in the page title that I mentioned last time. In this way the page title and page headline re-inforce one another and give a further boost to the on-page seo.
Next time I shall talk about images and how to use them as part of on-page optimisation. Later I shall go on to talk about off-page optimisation, a much larger subject.
In a recent survey I did into a very competitive market place I found that out of around 6 million search results in Google, barely 5% of the pages listed had a page title. So what! You might say, if you didn’t know what a page title is or how important it can be. Well, think of a library of books – none of which have a title. How would you know what they were about?
The Page Title, which appears in the title tag of a web page is a key part of the cataloging information used to determine the subject or topic of the page. Most search engines use this information to file the page. The other important feature of the page title is that it forms the headline of the page’s entry in the search engine results. Let’s take a look at a typical snapshot of a search engine results page….
Now take a single result from the list for the search phrase “Be Your Own Boss”
It looks just like a small classified advertisement, which it is! Its job is to entice the visitor to click through to the webb page it refers to.
The first line of the result comes from the page title (title tag), this one is designed to correspond to the search phrase. It says to the visitor, “Look, this is what you are looking for!”
The second and third lines are often taken from the description tag on the page. This tag helps to categorise the topic of the page in the search results and also forms the body of the classified advertisement in the results page above. By now you will not be surprised to learn that very many web pages also lack a suitable (or even any) description tag!
So where do we find these tags? Well, they should appear in the html code of the head section of the web page among the meta tags. This part of the page gives a lot of information to browser programs and search engines but is invisible on the actual web page when viewed normally on screen. The page title also shows up in the topmost border of most web browsers.
Ask whoever codes your web pages to ensure that these necessary tags are in place. And don’t make the mistake many beginners make of putting the same title and description on every page of the website. Use a different set for each page appropriate to the topic and content of the page. That way you help the search engines to accurately catalog your pages and you will often be rewarded with a higher position in the search results.
These changes alone will not get you top rankings, but should put you ahead of many competing pages.
One of the key areas involved in my work with clients is Search Engine Optimisation often just referred to as SEO.
SEO is the collection of techniques used to ensure that websites can be found in the major Search Engines like Google, Yahoo and now Bing, the new search engine from Miicrosoft.
With millions of websites and billions of pages currently online the likelihood of any single one being found by the right people is many times worse than looking for a needle in a haystack. Search engines make finding websites appropriate to what people are looking for much easier. They use extremely sophisticated databases and search programs to match up search queries with websites that they deem relevant to the searcher. So, if you are a business using a website to market your business, search engines are vital to your survival and success.
Unfortunately, many small businesses seem either unaware of the importance of search engines to their business or they simply don’t know how to ensure that their websites are ‘findable’ by the search engines. In simple terms they need to make their websites Search Engine Friendly!
Over the years many systems have been tried to ‘beat the search engines’, in other words to endevour to get websites a top listing, especially in Google. Many of these have been unsuccessful, and even the successful ones have been short lived as Google and the others have found ways to combat the ‘cheats’!
I take a different approach. The job of the search engines is to give their visitors the best result they can in response to the search questions they type in. My job as a SEO expert is to help Google, Bing, Yahoo and others to deliver excellent results to their visitors. I do this by ensuring that my clients’ websites provide exactly what the search engines and their visitors are looking for relevant to the products, services and information being searched for. That way there is no likelihood of my clients’ websites ever being penalised for ‘cheating’, unlike the clients of those who are still trying to beat the search engines. On the contrary websites that are properly optimised for the benefit of the visitor, that give them valuable and useful information to meet their needs and that leave an easily followed ‘trail’, help the search engines to lead their visitors right to what they want.
That way we achieve a true win. My clients win by getting their products and services in front of qualified visitors, the visitors win by being able to easily find answers to what they are looking for and the search engines win by returning search results that satisfy their visitors so that they keep using them to find their answers. And I win too from having happy clients and from the satisfaction and pleasure of working with Google and co. to ensure everyone wins.
In my SEO category I will be talking about the more important search engine optimisation techniques.
I first discovered WordPress a few years ago around version 1.5 (as I write this we’re into V2.8), when it was mainly just a good blogging platform. I preferred it to the predominant blog engine at the time (blogger.com) because it gave me more freedom to control and manage my own blog.
Since then it has evolved out of all proportion to its humble beginings to become a first class website building and content management tool. It gives me total control over both content and ‘look & feel’ and provides many powerful add-on tools known as ‘plugins’ to enhance its operation and search engine ‘friendliness’.
The WordPress use of themes makes creating and modifying the website design a breeze even for the most inexperienced website builder whilst adding and updating your own content is as simple as using a word processor. This means no-one needs to be totally dependant on a web designer to make simple changes or updates to their pages.
It also means that a small business owner with a modicum of computer skill can have a complete website up and running in as little as a few hours. Best of all I like the cost …. FREE! After all free is the beginning of freedom, freedom from reliance on others to build and maintain your main marketing tool.
In this series I’m going to talk about my experience with WordPress and show why I have been steadily converting all my web real estate to this format.
You may be wondering where the tag ‘Freedom Guy’ came from. Well the potted bio box on the top right gives a a clue to something that is important to me, but it also comes from my work with embryo entrepreneurs whose predominant reason for starting their own business is the freedom that it gives them. These people have decided to give up the day job as a wage slave and carve their own niche in the world and good luck to them!
Freedomguy has also been my ‘handle’ in business forums and internet marketing forums for a number of years.
So it’s only natural that I have a special category on my new blog to talk specifically about individual freedoms and my take on the meaning of personal freedom.
As you can see, the website has had a complete makeover as part of the process of moving all of my websites over to WordPress. This website has also become my new HQ. It brings all the operational, accounting, order processing, affiliate program and customer support functions into a new central location. This will make it so much easier to manage a growing and diverse range of websites and services.
All product groups, memberships and subscription services will also be managed from here. This will give you, my customers, a central point of contact and a central help and support area. You will also be able to access your purchase history and downloads in one place.
Although the ‘shop front’ is based on WordPress, the site has some pretty impressive new software managing the back office from where I shall manage my growing ‘Web Real Estate’. For those of you planning to take a similar approach to your own online business, I’ll keep you informed on the progress and performance of all the new changes, both visible and hidden ‘around the back’, through this blog.
Thanks for visiting and I look forward to seeing you back here again soon.