Web Marketing Plan. The When. The How. The Why.

A GOOD AND GROWTH FOCUSED WEB MARKETING PLAN NEEDS TO BE COMPREHENSIVE ACROSS MANY WEB VENUES, ORGANIZED, AND EFFICIENTLY IMPLEMENTED. THERE ARE MANY FACETS TO ONLINE MARKETING AND IN ORDER TO TRULY GROW YOUR PRESENCE ONLINE YOUR GOING TO NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN MOST IF NOT ALL.

HERE ARE SOME ESSENTIAL POINTS, ALBEIT BROAD POINTS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:

1. Develop a clean, functional and information rich website. Your website will obviously be the hub of all your activities. This includes website strategy, graphic design, content writing, navigation and usability.

2. Test and analyze your site with a search engine optimization expert. This includes generating meta tags and image alt tags and registering your site with the major search engines.

3. Identify related sites for linking, listing and Internet advertising opportunities. Take your time and implement full third party adds that advertise your website.

4. Develop an online lead-generation program like utilizing Adwords or a an affiliate program.

5. Design and implement an email advertising campaign that will continue to keep you in touch with your customers.

6. Utilize blogs, podcasts and webcasts. A blog is a great way to get your message out there.

7. Create and post interactive product demos to your website.  Videos are a great way to interace more personally with a digital audience.

8. Develop an interactive PR program using a service like PR Web.

9. Finally, test, modify, and retest your work continually by using actionable web analytics.  You will want to develop a long term strategy of continual updating and improvement.

 

Online Reputation Management Service; The Do it Yourself Alternative

Just like the commercials say, your online reputation is important and managing it could save you big time.  This isn’t just a long term pay off, it’s an immediate pay off.  When someone searches for you what will they find?  the truth or a bad review that a competitor made up and is broadcasting across the web just to gain a competitive edge against you?

So, if you believe me on that the question is what to do?  You could pay a service to clean up you online image but that is of course a little pricey. If your a DIY guy like me, take these steps, it really is not that hard it just takes a little time and some work.

You want to own the first three pages in Google.  That’s the tough part! 

  1. Gain control.  Launch a modern, up to date website and start keeping it up to date.  If you already have this your ahead of the game, if you don’t your way behind. 
  2. Launch your companies social media pages on FaceBook, Yelp, Twitter, FourSquare and any other relevant option you can find.  The key here is control, give your customers the option of writing reviews on pages you own. If a competitor sabotages you automatically avoid the pain of him controlling these types of pages.  Your customers will look on these types of pages for genuine reviews to compare to anything else they read.  Remember!  Allow your customers to post genuine negative reviews!  Simply respond and resolve.  Real customer problems that are resolved are super valuable to proving your legitimacy and commitment to customer service. 
  3. Spend time getting real reviews from real customers.  Offer discounts and promotions to get REAL customer reviews ALL OVER the web.  People are searching… THIS is what you want them finding! 
  4. Blog.  Install a blog, tie it in with your social media and blog relevant information consistently.  This will give a whole lot more advantages than just control of your brand, it will bring in new customers! 

Sound hard?  It’s not so bad as all that, one the ball is rolling it will be rewarding and shocking how much you get in the way of positive results!

Remember, if you need help, just let me know.

Local Business Growth Ideas

Small companies often hit their peak based purely on local population factors. Essentially one the business has penetrated the populous of their niche customer base the business promptly peaks. So what’s next?! Aggressive options like franchising of course are an option. However easier ‘step at a time options are available. Find the product, idea or process that you offer that is unique. Trademarking a product or patenting a unique idea could be your ticket to success but don’t worry there are incredibly easy first steps! They are all about building and maintaining an amazing brand name which is incredible hard work.

Begin to meticulously maintain your customer list. Beginning a mailing list or customer list is fundamental. Get all the info you possibly can but don’t make the mistake of asking for everything on the first date! For an example get an email address in exchange for a free item etc. Next send out an email that collects their physical addresses in exchange for a free coupon or speciality promotion or even sweep steaks. This mailing / customer list is your fundamental building block to building a brand.

Next step is making simple, clear branding decisions across your marketing image mediums. Everything you do needs to have a similar rhythm, flow and look. From website, logo and print your branding needs to be clear, simple and in agreement.

Be creative. If you want to grow, you need the ability to be out of the box on every front. Remember, If your the same your to blame. Example; if you are growing a restaurant (lets assume you have your menu already decided) use a unique marketing ploy. Like send a spoon via physical mail to your potential local customs (potential regulars!) and give them a discount if they bring it back to you.

Finally, get your act together on all mediums. Web, print, networking and advertising. Wow, that’s a big topic.

Next, grow! One customer at a time. The keys are in the unique creative things that you do well. Then it’s just the hard day to day work that’s left!

Why is My Very Successful Position 1 Site Dropping in Search Rank?

This post is going to cut to the chase, essentially your website is going out of style. First of all, is this (or has this been) happening:

    • Your website was position #1 on many or at least one or two very important keywords
    • Over a year or more your site has been dropping down.. slowly, and slot by slot
    • You are now half way down the first page and traffic has cut in less than half

Do This:

  • Who is ranking above you now?  Run a site analysis that compares the infrastructure of the competing website and its features, security and depth of the site.  Compare and find out what they have that you don’t

Answer these questions;

  • Are you updating your site daily?
  • Are you adding new products, information and products weekly?
  • Have you updated the fundamentals of the functionality of your site recently?
  • Have you spent time on making your site cleaner, load faster, navigate more easily or improved the fundamental layout of the site to improve flow?
  • Are your competitors doing any or all of the above?

This outline should inspire you to learn what is happening, and hopefully for your sake help you begin a process of correction.  But either way, here’s the skinny.  You are being out classed.

Google is looking for the best solution for each search query, and apparently you are no longer #1 in Google’s eyes.

What to do?!

Plenty, pretty much everything you haven’t been doing.  I have a friend that enjoyed position #1 for 10 year and needless to say business was booming.  He ranked #1 for these reasons:

  • He was the FIRST website to offer his product offering and hire an expert to lay out his website to properly be able to rank for valuable keywords
  • He did a great job with his customers, and Google new it because he had spent the money to build a great website and he had a wide product offering.
  • It was really that simple

Now what?  Exactly!  His search ranking is dropping every year and he is now position #4!!! Business is not doing well and traffic is in half.  What should he do?

  • RELEVANCY & CONTENT Add a blog and focus on relevant, constant updates that speak to happy customers and all the different types of products and information that he can offer.
  • SPEED & RELIABILITY Rebuild the fundamental website on the fastest and most secure server  that money can buy (its not that pricey).  Make it easy to read, fast to load (as I said) and full of very relevant content including images, links and text.
  • SERVICE & SAFETY Add a secure store (using cutting edge shopping software like Magento) and secure it with the absolute best SSL money can buy.  Then fill that store with EVERY product and EVERY brand that SHOULD BE OFFERED to his customers.
  •  INTERACTION & SERVICE Make interaction easy and 1 click.  Add liveChat or similar chat service.  Add easy to reach contact forms and full phone and email contact info readily available.

Sounds like a TON of work, right?  EXACTLY, and if you don’t do it your competitor will while you continue to slip into oblivion.

Easy WordPress and Magento Integration

View the original post on Addoa Creative

WordPress is among the best web software for blogging and Magento is among is among the best web software for eCommerce. So naturally a marriage between WordPress and Magento is one made in the heavens. Learn how to easily import WordPress content into a Magento page.

Once you have Magento and WordPress installed on your sever, it’s time to get down to action. We installed the shop in the root directory of the website (yourwebsite.com), and the blog in a sub-directory called blog (yourwebsite.com/blog).

There are a number of approaches out there to integrate Magento and WordPress. Some methods rely on sever rewrite rules. The problem with this method is that it doesn’t let you mix content from WordPress and Magento on the same page. Other methods rely on contributed modules. The problem with contributed modules is that they can break and become dysfunctional when either WordPress or Magento are updated. So, in search of the right solution, I wound up creating my own hybrid solution. My solution uses PHP to pull in WordPress content and display it on Magento pages. Then you simply need to match your WordPress theme with your Magento theme.

Part 1 — Matching your WordPress and Magento themes

Let’s assume you start with a Magento theme and want to convert it to a WordPress theme. WordPress themes are stored at /wp-content/themes/[your-theme] relative to your blog’s root path.

First you need to pick a theme to adapt. I started with the default WordPress theme in order to create my new custom theme that would match my Magento theme. Using the default theme, you only need to edit three files in order to match your WordPress theme to your Magento theme: header.phpfooter.php, and you’re theme’s stylesheet (in my case style.css).

In the header.php file, you’ll want to include:

  • Your HTML doc info and opening <HTML> tags
  • Your document <head> tags and all of the good stuff that goes in between
  • Your opening <body> tag
  • Your header code — your site’s logo, navigation, etc.
  • Opening divs for your main content area (but don’t close these divs — you’ll close these in footer.php)

And then in the footer.php file, you’ll want to include:

  • Closing div tags corresponding to divs you opened in header.php for your main content area
  • Your footer code (copyrights, links, etc.)
  • Your closing </body> tag
  • Your closing </html> tag

Finally, in your styles.css CSS stylesheet, you’ll want to include whatever styles you need to make your blog look like your Magento shop.

Tip: There’s no need to duplicate all of the styles in your Magento stylesheet in your blog’s stylesheet. Instead, you can import the styles in your Magento theme’s stylesheets. To do this, open your WordPress theme’s stylesheetstyles.css
and place this somewhere in the document:

 

1 <br>
2 /* imports Magento theme's styles */<br>
3 @import url(/[path-to-magento]/skin/frontend/[your-theme]/default/css/menu.css);<br>
4 @import url(/[path-to-magento]/skin/frontend/[your-theme]/default/css/boxes.css);<br>
5 @import url(/[path-to-magento]/skin/frontend/[your-theme]/default/css/reset.css);<br>
6 @import url(/[path-to-magento]/skin/frontend/[your-theme]/default/css/clears.css);<br>

 

By importing the CSS instead of duplicating it, you’ll reduce your file size and speed up your page load. Also, when you make changes to your theme, you don’t need to make changes in two places.

Because the CSS @import command takes precedence over all other CSS rules, you don’t have to worry about it conflicting with the blog’s default style code. You might want to add or change a few styles specific to the blog in the blog’s stylesheet below the import commands. If you started from a really complex WordPress theme, you’ll probably want to remove all of the extraneous style rules to reduce the document size.

Now you’ve successfully matched your WordPress and Magento themes. Onto part 2…

Part 2 — How to display WordPress content on a Magento page

You have your blog and you have your shop, and they look the same. This is great, but what if you want to display content from WordPress within Magento (like on your store’s homepage)?

There are a number of ways to do this. You could create RSS feeds with your content and then display then on another site with MagpieRSS. This method works, but we wanted something a little more elegant and something that didn’t rely on RSS. Our method uses very simple theming and PHP to display WordPress content on a Magento page. Here we go…

Step 1 — Create a bare-bones WordPress theme file that skips all of the styles, header, and footer and just displays content.

Create a new file, we’ll call it share.php, in your WordPress theme directory:

 

1 <br>
2 <?php<br>
3 /*<br>
4 Template Name: Share<br>
5 */<br>
6 ?><br>
7 <?php query_posts('limit=3'); ?><br>
8     <?php if (have_posts()) : ?>

 

<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>

<div <?php post_class() ?> id=”post-<?php the_ID(); ?>”>
<h2><a href=”<?php the_permalink() ?>” rel=”bookmark” title=”Permanent Link to <?php the_title_attribute(); ?>”><?php the_title(); ?></a></h2>
<small><?php the_time(‘F jS, Y’) ?> <!– by <?php the_author() ?> –></small>

<div>
<?php the_content(‘Read the rest of this entry »’); ?>
</div>

<p><?php the_tags(‘Tags: ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘<br />’); ?> Posted in <?php the_category(‘, ‘) ?> | <?php edit_post_link(‘Edit’, ”, ‘ | ‘); ?> <?php comments_popup_link(‘No Comments »’, ‘1 Comment »’, ‘% Comments »’); ?></p>
</div>

<?php endwhile; ?>

<div>
<div><?php next_posts_link(‘« Older Entries’) ?></div>
<div><?php previous_posts_link(‘Newer Entries »’) ?></div>
</div>

<?php else : ?>

<h2>Not Found</h2>
<p>Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.</p>
<?php get_search_form(); ?>

<?php endif; ?>

This template code will display the three most recent posts. You can change the number of posts you want to display by changing the numerical value in line 6 (highlighted above).

Step 2 — Create a page in WordPress that uses your new “Share” template.

Create a new page in WordPress. Under the “Attributes” block visible while editing the page, you’ll want to set your page to use the “Share” template you created. You can title it whatever you want, but you’ll want to change the permalink to something rememberable: http://www.your-site.com/blog/share/

After you’ve done all those, navigate to the permalink of the page in your browser to test it out and make sure it’s using the bare-bones template you created. You should see the text of the most recent posts on an otherwise blank and boring page. If you see this, you’re done working with WordPress… now for Magento’s bit.

Step 3 — Create a template file in Magento to embed your newly created WordPress page into a Magento page.

This step is necessary because Magento does not allow embedded PHP code to be executed from CMS pages. In order to trick Magento into loading the PHP, you need to create a template file that will execute the PHP and deliver it to a CMS page via a block.

So here’s how you create a new block template:

  1. Navigate to /[path-to-mageneto]/app/design/frontend/[your-theme]/default/template/
  2. Create a new directory within the template directory called blog
  3. Within your new directory blog, create a file called blog.phtml
  4. In your blog.phtml file, place the following code:

 

1 <br>
2 <?php $source file_get_contents("http://www.your-website.com/blog/share"); print$source; ?><br>

 

Step 4 — Place the block based on your new template on the Magento CMS page you want the blog content to display on

 

1 <br>
2 {{block type="core/template" template="blog/blog.phtml"}}<br>

 

You’re done! You’ve now embedded your most recent WordPress posts in a Magento page. The links to the posts and comments will route visitors to your blog (which now looks identical to your Magento shop). You may also want to put Magento store items on your WordPress blog. Check out this method for displaying your Magento store items as a block in WordPress using Magento’s product RSS feeds.

Mozy Online Backup

If you have ever experienced computer failure you do not need to read this recommendation.  However, for those that think online backup is a waste of money, I recommend that you think again.  Losing files that are irreplaceable can not only take time, but it can also cost you serious money.  For as little as $50 per year you can backup ALL your files on the remote servers Mozy offers.  So if an hour of your time is worth more than $50 you should most certainly backup your files with a trusted source like Mozy.


BOGO: 500 Premium Business Cards for $3.99

15 “Must Have” WordPress Plugins For 2010

Skip on over to Site Sketch and see the 15 best wordpress plugins for 2010. Here’s a quick list for reference:
Each of these plugins are used at Site Sketch 101 and I personally recommend each of them to you. The following plugins are posted in the order that I recommend them.

WP Super Cache – This plugin is great for two reasons. First, it makes your pages load way faster. Second, since it stores static versions of your site, it requires much less CPU processing than using WordPress all by itself. This WordPress plugin is number one on the list for a reason.
HeadSpace 2: WordPress SEO Made Simple- Move over All in one SEO. There’s a new guy in town. HeadSpace provides you with the features you need to drive your site to the top. People spend way to much time working on SEO and too little time writing great content. This plugin let’s you put your focus back where it belongs. It takes care of all the SEO work that your blog will need.
Akismet – Akismet is the comment spam fighter that comes built into WordPress and it does a mighty fine job. Activate this plugin and you won’t need to moderate or captcha your comment submissions. Akismet does 99% of the work for you.
WPtouch iPhone Theme – This plugin allows you to instantly and effortlessly transform your website into a mobile paradise. Whenever a mobile user accesses your blog a pleasant looking lighter version designed specially for mobile devices is presented. This is a must have for 2010.
Backtype Tweetcount – If you’re using the TweetMeMe tweet counter badge on your blog then kill it right now. Nobody wants to authorize another program to access their Twitter account just to share a link to your site.
Nofollow Case by Case – This site’s comment links are dofollow. I’ve stripped out all of the nofollow tags from the comment section of Site Sketch 101. You leave a comment here and Google page rank will chase you all the way back to your site. This plugin is what makes that happen. So leave a comment here and then install this awesome WordPress Plugin at your blog.
WP-DBManager – This little gem is amazing for backing up your website. It actually has quite a few functions that it can perform but perhaps it’s most impressive feature is it’s ability to email the entire WordPress databse to me every day.
Thank Me Later – This plugin is great. It sends an email to all first-time visitors. You can write up the email to remind them about your RSS feed or just to invite them to connect with you personally. I do both.
WP-PageNavi – Those ‘Older Posts’ and ‘Newer Posts’ links are boring. With WP-PaveNavi you can get page buttons so users can go directly to whichever page they want. Plus they look a lot better than plain little links.
Permalinks Moved Permanently – Last year I moved all of my permalinks to post the page so that they wouldn’t be so long. This would have meant that all of the links to my posts would generate 404 errors. This plugin just forwards all the links and PR to the new addresses.
SEO Slugs – Using your entire post title as the slug for the article can make web addresses long and it can waste the opportunity to focus on using your keywords. This plugin strips out all the unnecessary words from the permalink for you so that you don’t have to.
SEO Smart Links – Do you inter-link your articles? You should. Linking within an article to other articles is a great way to build Page Rank throughout your site and it’s a great way to get readers to find your other articles on similar subjects. This plugin will interlink keywords to your other articles for you.
Subscribe to Comments – This plugin took a little bit of work to get it to work right but it’s great because it allows people to subscribe via email to any other comments that show up on a given post. This helps get readers to keep coming back.
Top Commentators Widget – At the bottom of the sidebar here, you can see the top 10 commentators for this month. This is a great way to provide a dofollow link back to the people who help make your site great.
WordPress Related Posts – If a reader enjoys one of your articles then one of the best things that you can do is to put some more articles in front of them to keep them digging through your site.

Adding a favicon to wordpress

Creating a Favicon

A favicon (short for “favorites icon”) is an icon associated with a website or webpage intended to be used when you bookmark the web page. Web browsers use them in the URL bar, on tabs, and elsewhere to help identify a website visually.

A favicon is typically a graphic 16 x 16 pixels square and is saved as favicon.ico in the root directory of your server. You can use a favicon with any WordPress blog on a web server that allows access to the root directories.

Creating a Favicon

A favicon can be easily created using any graphic program that will allow saving of .ico graphic files, such as The GIMP. There are also online services that will allow you to create a favicon for free.

The image should be clear and is usually designed to match your blog image and/or content, a big task for something so small.

To prepare the image to be saved as favicon.ico:

  1. By cropping or adding space around the image, make the image square.
  2. Resize the image to 16 x 16 pixels.
  3. Save the file as favicon.ico.

If using an online service to create your favicon, such as favicon.co.uk, follow the instructions provided by the site. Then download the image of the favicon.ico to your computer.

Installing a Favicon in WordPress

If there is already an old favicon.ico file in your current theme’s main folder, delete it using FTP Clients.

  1. With an FTP Client, upload the new favicon.ico file into your current theme’s main folder.
  2. Upload another copy of your favicon.ico file to the main directory of your site (ie. http://example.com/favicon.ico). This will display the favicon in your subscribers’ feedreaders.

In order for your favicon to show up in some older browsers, you will need to edit your page header.

  1. Go to your WordPress Administration Panel.
  2. Click on Design (called Presentation in WordPress 2.3.x and below, and Appearance in WordPress 2.7+).
  3. Click on Theme Editor.
  4. Select the file called Header or header.php to edit the file.
  5. Search for the line of code that begins with <link rel="shortcut icon" and ends with /favicon.ico" />. Overwrite it, if it exists, or add the following code below the <head> HTML tag.
    <link rel="shortcut icon" href="<?php bloginfo('template_directory'); ?>/favicon.ico" />
  6. Save the changes.

To see your new favicon, clear your WP-Cache and your browser’s cache. You may need to restart your browser in order to see the new favicon.