Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Social Bookmarking?

Someone sent me the question "Why Social Bookmarking? "

And I thought to myself: "Um. Why not?"

Since I'm not really sure what they meant by that, I'm going to assume that this person mean "Why should I use social bookmarking in my business?" - with a full understanding of all the risks associated with "assuming".

I figure that if you're reading this, you have that question, or a similar one.

There are three reasons:

1 - More links

2 - More traffic

3 - More credibility

Think of links as the road traffic that moves through the web. If there are no roads to where your business "lives" online, namely your website, it's far less likely that the visitors you want will end up getting to you.

That's true whether you're talking about search engines or links from other sites. Search engines use a mysterious cross between the number and quality of links to your site in their determination of whether you should be number one or number 701 for your desired keyword.

In addition, the "nicer" the road, the more traffíc will flow through it - think of an authority site linking to your site as a highway that leads directly to your site, and one from a reciprocal link or link exchange scheme as a back street in a sketchy neighborhood full of potholes.

Improved traffic, also good.

From social bookmarking, this traffic is often targeted. Through tagging, the description someone writes, or the title they assigned to your link, the person who discovers the submitted link on a social bookmarking site knows exactly where they're going, and why they're interested in getting there.

It's like seeing the cover of a magazine on a rack. That's what pulls them in, they see a headline - and to get to the story they are compelled to take another action.

The more credibility thing is a bit harder to explain, so we'll go with another analogy.

Let's say I made a movie and I thought it was fantastic. If I hadn't met you before, and I tell you, "hey, I made a kick-ass movie, come see it!" - you may come see it, you may not.

It depends more on how much time you have and if you're interested in that kind of movie, or even how nice of a person you are, than my opinion.

Why?

Because I'm the one who made it, so you can't know whether to trust my opinion, at least in relation to how much YOU might like it. Of course I think it's great, but I have no way of knowing whether you will.

Now, if you knew me and my taste, and how alike our tastes are, you may be a bit more inclined. So if I'm, say, Michael Bay, and you liked my last movie, and my new movie is on the same type of thing, you might go see it based on the trailer alone. You know you're taking a gamble but it's a safe bet.

Now watch this.

Your best buddy, the one who likes all the same things you like, the one you hang out with and trust the most, calls you on the phone and says:

"I've just seen the best movie I've ever seen in my entire life. I have to see it again. When are you free, I'll come pick you up."

The only thing that could make that deal sweeter is if your friend has also said "My treat." At least as far as recommendations go, the person who knows what you like the most is likely to be the person whose advice you'll follow.

If you know that friend, and that person has similar tastes, or at least knows what you like, you're more likely to see the movie.

My sister and I have similar tastes in movies, but I'm a little more patient with beginnings and endings and like more indie-fare. Yet, no matter how many times I have suggested we watch a movie together that she ends up not liking as much, if I rave about a movie, she'll at least give it a chance.

Now, let's take that back to social bookmarking. Imagine you can find hundreds of people, all over the world, with tastes similar to yours, sharing information you wouldn't find yourself.

Or maybe you can just connect faster and more frequently for suggestions from people you already know. Wouldn't you be more likely to follow their suggestions than some stranger?

That's the power of social bookmarking. It's put a technology behind word of mouth sharing of web sites that anyone can use.

And they do.

Now all you have to do is learn how to be the person or company everybody is spreading the word about. Which is another conversation altogether.

About The Author
How do you promote your local business using online tools? I'm answering this and related questions every day - if you've got one come by and ask away! I know. That rhymed. You can come give me a hard time about it at AskTinu.com - yo habla sarcasm.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Blog Flipping: 10 Important Factors When Selling Your Weblog Or Website

The market for blogs has exploded. Many companies do not want to invest the time in developing a blog in their respective niche, which has given rise to a whole new cottage industry, blog flipping.

Blog flipping is done in a few different ways. Some flippers buy an existing blog that has potential, but is not currently producing. They take that blog and build the traffic and sales up to a level productive enough to reap a profit from their investment, and then sell it.

Or, more common in today's blog flipping market, is to research a specific niche, develop a domain / blog, and then sell it.

But what does "developed" really mean? It depends on the flipper. So buyers really need to do their homework (read due diligence) before investing in an "established" blog or website. Because "established" is in the eyes of the beholder, and means many different things depending upon who you consult.

In my opinion, established means that the site, or blog, is profitable. Now profitable can be defined very differently for different companies. It doesn't mean that the site has to be makíng money, though it does help justify the investment when purchasing the blog. It can mean to a prospective company only that the site has traffic that company believes it can convert into sales. Not everyone can convert website traffic in the same way. So there are companies out there looking to buy blogs that have a certain, specific reader demographic that fits their market. However, these types of sales are few and far between. Companies that are buying blogs normally want to see one thing.

Profit.

Not just income, because a blog's gross monthly income and it's actual profit margin can be two very different things as well. We've all seen the advertisements screaming that you can make ten thousand dollars a month blogging, or with Adsense, or whatever. But the part usually left out is the investment it takes to get that income. Sometimes the cost is far greater than the income, making the blog or website a LOSER.

So what steps should you take to sell your blog if you are a would be website flipper? Here are a few factors your blog or website should have in order to get top dollar:

1. Real Web Property

Your blog needs to be a real web property. What I mean by this is that it needs to be a real domain, on hosting you are paying for. Free hosted blogs are not a viable investment for most companies and corporations. There are exceptions to every rule and I'm sure that there have been a few sales of extremely popular Blogspot blogs, but unless you have a million visitors a month, you're probably not going to sell a free hosted blog anytime soon. Buy a domain, pay for some hosting, build something that has value.

2. Professional Appearance

Your blog or website needs to have a professional appearance. Custom design is always better, but at the very least, it needs to have a template or layout that fits that blog's readership or market. If you have poor graphics, even if your blog has monster traffic, you'll sell it for much less than you could have if you had professional web design. It's sort of like house flipping or selling a used car. If you can afford it, a fresh coat of paint usually brings the resell value up substantially.

3. Developed Traffic Sources

Potential buyers want to see traffic. Not just any traffic will do for most serious investors. They want to see solid, search engine traffic and a solid bookmarked reader base. StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking websites are awesome traffic sources, no doubt. But when it comes to someone buying your blog, they want to see more than just a few traffic spikes from a front page listing on Digg. They want to see that the traffic is going to keep coming for months and years to come. Without a lot of work if they can get it.

4. Documented Traffic Statistics


It is going to take more than just the summary of "hits" screen capture from your webalizer stats to make the sale. You are going to need at least three months history of actual traffic statistics. Unique visitors, tracking cookie info if you have it, Google Analytics, etc. Numbers, numbers, numbers. Corporations want numbers in order to convince their board of directors that your blog would be a sound investment. Private investors are no different for the most part and they want to know exactly what they are buying when it comes down the actual traffic your blog has.

5. Profit and Loss

Lots of income statistics. If you are looking to sell your blog or website for real money (read more than a few bucks nabbed on EBAY) then you are going to need to show your buyer some stats about money. P&L statements (Profit and Loss) for as far back as you can go will help your buyer make his or her decision. It is one thing to tell a potential buyer what the gross income per month is, it's a completely different thing to show them exactly what the net income is and how it is obtained each month. Keep good records of your website expenditures and what the income received from those investments are. Include every cost. Website hosting, design, redesign, employee or outsourcing costs, whatever. Include everything and show them the real bottom line.

6. Set a Fair Price

I know you love your site, I love all of mine too. So it's easy to attach an emotional value to your blog and inflate the price. It's also really easy to confuse a blog's actual value with your vision of it's potential value. What you think the site will make someday and what it's making now are two very different things. Sorry, but what you think it will make someday has zero value to a would be investor. They only want to know what the net profit is, right now. Yes, you can take some long term income growth statistics and make profit projections, but unless you have these statistics going back a year or more, most buyers are going to dismiss them entirely.

Set a real price. In the bricks and mortar world most companies sell for 2 to 3 years of the total net income. Online, this number is usually cut down to one year. So if your website is netting $300 per month, the actual value of your blog is probably somewhere around $3600. Once again, it's easy to add an emotional price tag for all the hard work you've done to get that blog makíng $300 clams a month, but your sweat equity doesn't mean much to a buyer.

Neither do website values created with online calculators. These sites are traffic magnets and are built totally to obtain webmaster traffic. If you search long enough and hard enough, you'll find a website value calculator that comes up with a number you like. It still means nothing to a buyer. It's not what your site is really worth and should have no bearing whatsoever on your sale price.

About The Author
Chuck Crawford is an established expert in web design, traffic development and website financial analysis. He has been helping people design and develop their internet business since 1995. Visit http://www.business blogs.us/blog/ .

Friday, April 24, 2009

Top 7 Reasons to Submit Articles

If you haven't already done so, you should be promoting your
website through Articles submissions.

1) You want to build credibility and by submitting articles,
you will eventually be known as an expert in your topic.
This will enable you to compete with your competition.

2) Many publishers often pick up works from other authors to
use on their homepage as content. It they do this and use
your resource box it will give you additional exposure.

3) You'll be able to brand your website and yourself by
submitting articles to ezines. You should always include
your name, business name, your credentials, Web site
address and email address in your resource box.

4) Many of the ezine sites are free to advertise in the
sites.

5) Sometime ezine publishers archive their files. If they
do then when visitors revisiti those articles, you will
continue to get exposure for years to come

6) You might be able make money writing articles or books
for others if people like your work.

7) You could allow ezine publishers to publish your
articles in theirfree e-books.
These are all good method but the problem is it takes too
long to submit articles to 20 ezine sites and hundreds of
other publishers.

Here is a fast and easy way to submit articles to hundreds
of ezine publishers.

Just go to http://www.getresponse.com