Top 10 E-Newsletter Checklist

Written by Lee Micai on September 20, 2011 – 11:13 am -

1. Make sure all your links are correct.

Test all of your links to make sure they go to the correct address and the pages still exist.

2. Make sure you send a plain text version.

Don’t ignore your subscribers on mobile, Facebook or those who prefer text messages.

3. Make sure all your pictures have an alternate text tag.

An alternate tag or ALT tag is a text description for images in your emails. It is used when the image is not available to the reader because they may have turned off images, or are using a screen reader due to a visual impairment.

4. Make sure all your links have a TITLE text tag.

A TITLE tag is similar to the ALT tag, but instead of a text description for images it is used as a short description of the page you’re linking to.

5. Personalize all your messages with your subscribers First names.

I hate receiving a email that does not have my name on it anywhere. You need to personalize the emails you send. “Dear Mr. Jones” or “Hi, John” instead of, “To whom it may concern” makes your subscribers feel special.

6. Always get permission

There’s nothing worse than sending unsolicited or SPAM emails and not adhering to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.

Instead of sending SPAM, contact your current supporters or customer base and ask permission to place them on your list. Also, place a sign up form directly on your website.

HIP Newsletter7. Include a unsubscribe button.

If you do not provide a clear and easy way to unsubscribe from your list, your email will be considered spam, and you could lose credibility.

8. Have an intriguing subject line.

The subject line provides an overall summary of the contents of your email. Create some interest; a catchy subject can lead to a improved open rate.

9. Track your results.

Most major email providers, like IContact (affiliate link), allow you to track open rates, bounce rates, clickthrough rates, etc. Track your results over time and store them in a spreadsheet to see how your emails are trending.

10. Test your emails in different email clients.

Create a template for your emails and test it in different email clients, operating systems and browsers. Once you’re pleased with how your template looks, you can reuse it.

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10 Landing Page Design Tips

Written by Lee Micai on August 3, 2011 – 2:27 pm -

Whether you want a visitor download an e-book, buy your product or register for an event, optimizing your landing page is essential your campaign. If visitors can’t quickly find what they need, they’ll leave your web site annoyed and possibly not return.

Below are 10 Landing Page Design Tips that will help get the results you’re looking for:

  1. Clear calls to action. Use buttons and/or links, to direct your visitors to they should do.
  2.  Eliminate unneeded Elements. Minimize Distractions by eliminating navigation bars, other calls to actions, and links to other areas of your web site.
  3. Write in the second person. Use you and your instead of he, she, his, her, I, me and my.
  4. Use bullets or numbered lists for your most important points. Many visitors will scan through your copy. Make it easy for them to figure out the point of the page.
  5. Make sure your page loads quickly. The biggest single reason visitors do not stay at a website is that it takes too long to load; that is, the time it takes for the page to appear on the computer screen.
  6. Only ask for what you need. If you only need the visitors Name and Email address, just ask for that. The more fields in a form, the less likely a visitor is to fill it out.
  7. Add a link to your Privacy policy. Let your visitors know their information is safe. This lets them know their privacy is important to you.
  8. Spell Check. This should be a no brainier, but you’d be surprised how many web pages have spelling errors.
  9. Don’t Just Send Them to Your Home Page. Once a visitor completes your call to action send them to a specific Thank You page.
  10. Test, Test, Test.

Take a look one of our landing pages for our “Web site Planner Workbook”.

10 Landing Page Design Tips

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Google +1 button available & Twitter Debuts Follow Button

Written by Lee Micai on June 1, 2011 – 4:14 pm -

The +1 button makes it easy for visitors to recommend your pages to friends and contacts exactly when their advice is most useful — on Google search. As a result, you could get more and better qualified site traffic.

The new Twitter Follow Button is similar to how the Facebook “Like” button works on websites, enables users to start following your business’ Twitter account with a single click.

Time to update your sites!

Get your +1 button here:

Get your follow button here:

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Monitor your Non-Profit or Small Business online for free

Written by Lee Micai on November 1, 2010 – 11:35 am -

I just created a free guide “Monitor your Non-Profit or Small Business online for free“, which shows you how to use Google Alerts and Google Reader to monitor what’s being said about you online.

You can download and print the PDF right now using this link. No opt-in required. Just download the guide and enjoy.

Posted in Nonprofit, Search Engine Optimization | No Comments »

7 Ways to Make your Website Effective

Written by Lee Micai on August 20, 2010 – 10:32 am -

Everyone always asks how they can make their website more effective. Here are some key points that you should focus on in order to be more successful on the Internet and with your website.

1. Find A Role For Your Website

The single most important tip is to decide on what role of your website should play in your marketing program before you order it.  Do you want to educate the market about your products? Provide a 24-hour information resource for current customers? Showcase your products? Generate requests for literature and leads? If you set objectives and stick to them, your website will be a success.

2. Offer The Reader A Compelling Reason To Contact YouWays to Make your Website Effective

Turning a website visitor into a customer is the most-overlooked aspect of web-based marketing, even on the biggest commercial sites. You want those who visit your website to buy. The easiest way to accomplish this is to engage them in a two way dialog, so you can market to them on your own terms. Get them to volunteer their name so that you can inform them of specials, product upgrades, events, and new products via e-mail or regular mail. How do you get them to volunteer their name? Offer them something! A free catalog, a free quote, a free analysis, a free reprint of an editorial article — anything your buyers might find of value. Other methods might include weekly drawings for free gifts (T-shirts, free product, etc.), or other promotional giveaways.

3. Get Right To The Point

People are not patient. Studies have proven that people will read long ads and marketing materials, but only if it’s clear there’s “something in it” for them. Be concise. Be quick. Be interesting. Don’t beat around the bush with long introductions or unrelated information. Tell your customer what they want to know and they’ll stick around for more!

4. Focus On Your Audience

Remember, your website should appeal to the interests of your audience, no one else matters! Focus on your target audience and put yourself in their shoes. If they’re interested in your product because it saves them time, then focus on convenience; don’t start your pitch with a laundry list of less-important features. Focus on the key benefits of your product and leave the details for later.

5. Market Your Website

Would you open a sales office in a distant city and then not tell your clients in the area that it had opened? Of course not. Think of your website as an automated sales or service office on the Internet and let your “universe” of potential buyers know that it’s available to them. Put your web address on your stationery, business cards, ads, brochures, and other sales materials, use a rubber stamp if necessary.  Be creative! For example, send out an “birth” announcement on a postcard. You should also remember to keep your domain name easy to remember. There shouldn’t be any dashes or numbers if it isn’t necessary. The general rule of thumb is the name should either be the company name or something that will be so easy to remember that if you gave your business card to someone and they lost it, they should still be able to find the website.

6. Make Your Website Useful

Make sure the information your prospects or customers want is available. For example, websites are ideal ways to disseminate the latest information about your product. You can include specifications, case studies, success stories, white papers, or testimonials. And don’t forget to include important contact information like your toll-free ordering line, customer service number, or how to get technical support. Make people want to come back to your website, make it “sticky”. It should be updated continuously, with events and news. Your site should also give them the incentive of coming back (e-mailed newsletter, product specials, contests, etc.).

7. Make It Easy For Viewers To Respond

You’d think this was obvious, but it’s overlooked far too often. You absolutely must make it easy for a reader to express their interest in your website. Plaster your 1-800 number across it, make sure there’s a link to your e-mail system, and treat visitors with the care you show any other prospective buyer. I have seen sales-oriented websites that never once listed a phone number or a “click to send e-mail” button.

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Search Engine Optimization & Marketing Glossary

Written by Lee Micai on September 15, 2008 – 11:51 am -

Adsense – Google’s pay per click advertising scheme. Google pays you when someone clicks on the ads that have been placed on your site.

Adwords – Google’s brand of Pay Per Click advertising that shows up on the right side of its page results when searching corresponding keywords.

Adwords may also be distributed to many other web sites that relate to the keywords you have bid on.

Article Marketing – The marketing practice of posting articles on sites to generate interest and back links to your own website.

Back Link – One way links from an web page or link that take people back to your website.

Banner Advertising – Billboard-like ads on web pages, when clicked they take you to the company who paid for the ad.

Black Hat – The bad guys. Questionable marketing tactics used to gain higher page rankings with search engines that do not adhere to standard TOS. (Spamming, Link Farms, etc.) Utilizing these practices could get you punished (sent lower in the page rankings) or even barred from showing up in Google searches.

Blog – A type of online diary that is updated frequently. Sometimes others may comment on what has been previously posted.

Chat Room – Online discussions on a particular section of a site, usually in real time, of a specific nature.

Click through – The process of clicking on a link in a search engine results page to visit an indexed site.

Click through rate (CTR) – The ratio of clicks and display impressions of an ad. If an ad were displayed 100 times and 4 viewers clicked on it, you have a CTR of 4%.

Comment – The HTML tags are used to hide text from browsers. Some search engines ignore text between these symbols but others index such text as if the comment tags were not there.

CPC – Acronym for Cost Per Click. Advertising scheme that puts your ad on related keyword searched pages and websites. You bid an amount you will pay the person or company displaying your ad when someone clicks the ad and is redirected to your web site or landing page. The amount of money you will pay when someone clicks your ad or banner.

Crawlers – Also know as a “robot” or “spider”, a crawler is an automated software program that runs at many search engines, reads sites’ content, analyzes it, and inserts them into the index (or collects information for later insertion into the index).

Description tag – HTML tag used to by Web page authors to provide a description for search engine listings. Some engines display these descriptions, other display some text from your page containing the searched phrase.

Directories – A directory is a web site, which contains listings (usually searchable and categorized) of other web sites. Most directories are created and managed by human editors.

Doorway page – Any page through which a visitor can enter your site. Some people prepare special pages to rank well in search engines for particular keywords, serving as an entry point through which visitors pass to the main content.

Forum – Online postings of a specific subject matter in a specific section of a site.

Google – The “Big Kahuna” of search engines. The service most people use to search for things on the internet.

HTML – Acronym for HyperText Markup Language. The symbols and code used and interpreted by the web browser to format documents in a particular way.

ISP – Acronym for Internet Service Provider. The company that provide you access to the internet.

Keyword – A word used in a performing a search. Generally visitors search for phrases instead of single words to locate the required information.

Keyword Density – A measure of how frequently a given keyword appears within a given web page.

Keyword marketing – Putting your message in front of people who are searching using particular keywords and key phrases.

Keyword Phrase – A phrase, which forms (part of) a search engine query.

Keyword Purchasing – The buying of search keywords from search engines, usually to control banner ad or Pay-per-click advertising.

Keyword Research – Keyword research is the most effective technique used by SEO during search engine optimization. Keyword research helps webmasters target keywords which brings more traffic to their sites. There are so many keyword research tools available for keyword research. Which help webmasters get information about query search by visitors on search engines and popularity of the keyword. Once keyword research is done, webmasters decide which keywords are important to target for their sites.

Keywords tag – META tag used to help define the primary keywords of a Web page.

Landing Page – The web page someone is redirected to when they click on an ad or other link. This may or may not be your home page.

Link popularity – A measure of the quantity and quality of sites that link to your site.

Link text – The text contained in (and sometimes near) a hyperlink.

Log file – File that records the activity on a Web server.

Manual submission – Adding a URL to the search engines individually by hand.

Meta Tags – Meta elements provide information about a given webpage, most often to help search engines categorize them correctly. They are inserted into the HTML document, but are often not directly visible to a user visiting the site.

Organic – The “natural way” of generating links and content, as opposed to “paid for” link generation.

Pay per click search engine – Search engine where results are ranked according to the bid amount, and advertisers are charged when a searcher clicks on the search listing.

Pay per inclusion search engine – Search engine where web sites or certain pages are included in the index only when you pay them a fee. The rank is not guaranteed and is based on the engines ranking algorithm or rules.

Positioning – The process of ordering web sites or web pages by a search engine or a directory so that the most relevant sites appear first in the search results for a particular query.

Positioning Technique – A method of modifying a web page so that search engines (or a particular search engine) treat the page as more relevant to a particular query (or a set of queries).

Query – A word, a phrase or a group of words, possibly combined with other syntax used to pass instructions to a search engine or a directory in order to locate web pages.

Rank – The position a particular site is listed in a search engine after a person does a relevant search. The higher the rank, the nearer the top of the results the site will come, and usually, the more traffic it will get.

Registration – The process of informing a search engine or directory that a new web page or web site should be indexed.

Re-submission – Repeating the search engine registration process one or more times for the same page or site. Generally it is unnecessary to do this with spider based search engines.

Robots – Also know as a “crawler” or “spider”, a robot is an automated software program that runs at many search engines, reads sites’ content, analyzes it, and inserts them into the index (or collects information for later insertion into the index).

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – The art and science of marketing your website to search engines. This encompasses a variety of strategies and processes, including Article Marketing, Web Video Marketing SEO, and PPC programs.

Search engine optimization (SEO) – The process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (”organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.

Search engine submission – The act of supplying a URL to a search engine in an attempt to make a search engine aware of a site or page.

Social Networking – The marketing practice of using popular networking site to promote yourself, your company, your products or website.

Submission Service – Any agent, which submits your site to many search engines and directories.

Title tag – HTML tag used to define the text in the top line of a Web browser, also used by many search engines as the title of search listings.

Top 20 – The top twenty search engine results for a particular search term.

Traffic – The visitors to a web page or web site. Also refers to the number of visitors, hits, accesses etc. over a given period.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator – Location of a resource on the Internet.

Viral Marketing – The marketing practice of people marketing you by sending your message, video site address etc, along to their friends via email, or my mentioning you in forums, chat rooms and blogs.

Video Marketing – The marketing practice of posting videos on popular sites to generate interest and back links to your website.

Volunteer directory – A Web directory staffed primarily by unpaid volunteer editors.

White Hat – The good guys, above-board marketing tactics that comply with search engines’ TOS.

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