Do You Need To Invest in SEO Services?

what is seoOne of the most important questions many online marketers have, or business owners looking to increase their online marketing efforts, is whether or not they need to invest in SEO services to promote their website.

While this seems like a pretty straightforward answer, the reality is that it can be difficult to get a full glimpse of where, when, and why you would want to invest in SEO, since most people that talk about it have very strong, often stark opinions on the matter.

In this post I hope to shed some light on what it is and why it will or won’t work for you business.

What Is SEO?

Firstly, it’s important to understand what, exactly, SEO is. Many people new to internet marketing (and even some who have been around for years) don’t have a good grasp of what it means to “do SEO,” and they’ll often equate it with a small subset of the task, such as “build backlinks,” or “optimize” their website.

These are techniques, but they don’t get at the heart of the matter. One of my favorite explanations of what SEO is came from Kyle Greenfield, from http://richmondseo.org. He writes that SEO is really about making sure that Google:

  1. Understands your website, and
  2. Trusts your website.

Ultimately, this comes down to making sure your website is relevant to the terms you want to rank for and can be read properly by all of the search algorithms. That’s what we generally call “onsite optimization.” “Offsite” work is all about building trust and authority, so that Google and the other guys come to believe in what you’re doing, and understand that you’re a good result to show to users.

Bluehost also has a great video explanation of what, exactly, search engine optimization is:

Misconceptions About SEO

Now that we have a good understanding of the basics behind what SEO actually is, you need to understand a few common misconceptions about the industry, before you can decide if investing in an SEO strategy is right for you.

SEO, like it or not, is neither the golden egg of online marketing nor the blackhat devil so many make it out to be.

It’s not right for everyone, and it’s not supposed to be the single be all and end all of your marketing strategy, but for many businesses it should form a part of that strategy.

In general, SEO gets its bad name because there are always people who are trying to spam the system to get their websites ranked. This leads to the constant battle between Google and the website owners, and ultimately these websites are penalized and disappear with the next round of algorithm updates.

Done correctly, however, SEO follows the guidelines set by the search engine companies, and can be a long lasting tool you use to make sure you keep increasing your authority and presence online.

It often fits in to your other content marketing strategies, and when used there, can be a great investment for increasing the organic traffic that comes to your website, and ultimately drives you new customers for your business.

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The Best Beginning Affiliate Marketing Courses

beginning affiliateOk, so you’ve decided you’re going to learn affiliate marketing, and have budgeted yourself to get a course and commit to learning the details of what you need to be successful.

If so, congratulations! That, in my opinion, is one of the biggest and most important steps to getting started earning money online, or in any field, really.

But, now it’s time to go into more detail about the options for your courses and which you might choose.

Source Wave

The first course to address is the 100 pound gorilla in the room. Source Wave, an SEO company owned by Alex Becker, perhaps one of the most famous SEOs online (aka: on the planet), has a beginning training program known as Source University, which can be a good option for you to get started.

The question on whether this is right for you or not is going to depend on what your objectives are. Source University is more about SEO than affiliate marketing. This is a hugely important part of running an internet marketing business, and it definitely pays to know the basics of how SEO works, but it’s also not necessarily the best for learning affiliate marketing, specifically.

Affilorama and Wealthy Affiliate

If you want to focus purely on the affiliate marketing side of the equation, then you’re better off going with a course like Affilorama or Wealthy Affiliate.

These are the two hands down leaders in the affiliate marketing training realm, and are both good options.

With Affilorama, you’ll learn how to setup a site with a category structure, and incorporate software into your affiliate site production.

Learn more with this Affilorama and AffiloJetpack review.

With Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll focus on a post-based structure, and creating super high quality content that attracts the types of leads you need in order to get high conversions and more sales from your site.

Learn more with this review of Wealthy Affiliate University.

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How To Learn Affiliate Marketing In Less Than A Month

learn affiliate marketingIn this post I’m going to get into the nitty gritty details of what it takes and how to do it in order to learn affiliate marketing in just a few weeks.

For the record, and to discourage anyone that thinks this is a blog about overnight wealth, the points I outline in this post will teach you how to learn affiliate marketing in a month, they will not necessarily lead to significant income from an affiliate site within your first month.

Route 1: The Blog Option

The first way to go, and if you’re truly bootstrapping your path to wealth, is to piece together anything and everything you can from a number of different blogs.

There are a lot of good options in the industry. A few of my favorites are the smart passive income blog, and searchengineland.

While these and a dozen other good ones have a ton of great information on affiliate marketing, ultimately the problem with going the blog route is you’re going to be piecing information together in bits and pieces, sometimes with conflicting views.

As a beginner, this can be confusing and frustrating, and could possibly derail you on your path.

Choosing A Course

Another option is to go with an established and complete affiliate marketing course.

I talk more about the best affiliate marketing courses in a different post, but the point of going with a course is to make sure that you have all your bases covered. Here’s a brief intro to one of the top courses:

There’s nothing worse than sitting down and trying to learn it all on your own, working for 6 months on a site, only to discover that you missed some crucial part of the puzzle, and need to start all over.

Honestly, that’s what happened to me when I first started, and instead of saving money on the course I didn’t think I needed, I wasted more money and more time experimenting with things when really there was a proven path right in front of me, and I ultimately ended up purchasing a course anyway!

While there are plenty of options for learning, that’s why at the end of the day if you’re truly interested in making an income from affiliate marketing, I highly recommend you invest in a good course to do so.

For more information on how to do that, I suggest you check out the Wealthy Affiliate review from affiliate-101.com, or watch the video below for examples of Wealthy Affiliate success stories.

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How To A/B Test a Landing Page

In the last post we talked about getting lead funnels set up and why they’re important. In this post I’ll go through some of the basics behind A/B testing, also known as split testing, and how you can implement it on your site.

We all know the famous Alec Baldwin Glengarry speech about Always Be Closing. This might be right for on the ground salesmen, but online, the real mantra should be “Always Be Testing.”

Testing is what makes the difference between 1% and 10% conversion rates, and can make or break the profitability of your online marketing efforts.

The Basics of Split Testing

Before you can setup successful tests, you need to know a little bit about how split testing works and what you can do to implement it on your website.

The basic premise behind testing is really quite simple: you create different variations of your website landing page, and serve those variations randomly to different users that come to your site. Read more detailed intro here.

For example, you might create one landing page with a headline offer of “Sign up today for a free consultation!” and a second one (promoting the exact same offer) with a title of “Learn how to take your business to the next level!”

You might think you know which is better, but the point of the test is to let your audience decide for you. You pick the winner and run a new test for the next month. Do this to multiple parts of your page, and little by little you’ll build your conversion rate into an unstoppable business driver!

Common Mistakes

If you’re new to A/B testing, there are a few common mistakes you should be sure to avoid.

split testing mistakesThese are often more psychological issues and misconceptions to get over, rather than execution differences, but they can have a huge impact.
Test small: Too many businesses will “test” completely different landing pages that have almost nothing in common with each other. This might help a little, but isn’t the most effective strategy. The key is to test one aspect of each page at the time, so that you can narrow down what, exactly, is making the difference in the conversion. Try changing the headline, or moving the image from right to left to center. Keep it simple stupid.

Your opinion doesn’t matter. The other huge mistake newbies make is thinking too much about what they think is the right way to put up the page. This happens a lot with designers and passionate business owners who have strong opinions on how to describe their brand. The point of testing is to let your audience decide for you. Chances are, you think about your product way differently than they do.

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Why You Need To Create a Lead Funnel On Your Site

lead funnel marketingProspecting.

It’s one of the most talked about and most feared words within any sales community.

How do you get a cold lead to warm up to your product before they make a purchase? How can you increase the effectiveness of your sales campaigns so that customers not only convert, but keep coming back to buy more and more products from you?

The answer, for online sales anyway, is all about creating the right lead funnel for your customers.

What Is A Lead Funnel?

The first thing to understand is what, exactly, I mean when I talk about having a lead funnel setup on your site.

Basically, a lead funnel is an automated system you put in place that turns a random visitor to your website into a warm lead you or one of your sales reps can talk to and actually have a good chance of closing the deal.

For some businesses, the entire funnel might be automated and the sale completed online, with no human touch points needed.

What Makes Lead Funnels Successful

When you’re creating your lead funnel, the most important thing to remember is that leads are warmed gradually, and often take time, especially for large purchases.

Your biggest challenge as a marketer is to create a series of small, almost no-brainer steps that the user should take.

The “easier” the action is for the user to take, the more likely he is to take it, and then be in the system for potential future conversion.

For example, one of the highest converting tactics is to offer users a free resource guide for signing up for an email list, and then from there to gradually increase the level of commitment, until the user is ready to speak with a sales rep or even make a direct purchase.

Why Lead Funnels Are Important

In case you don’t have a clear picture by now, let me throw some numbers at you.

Most sites that haven’t been optimized or tested expect sales conversion rates in the 0.5-2% range.

That means that if you have a $100 product, and you get 1,000 visitors to your website, you might expect to get 10 sales, and earn $1,000.

Let’s increase that conversion rate, just slightly, to 4%.
Now, instead of $1,000 in revenue, you have $4,000! But it doesn’t stop there.

Lead funnels have helped businesses improve conversion rates to the 15-20% range and, in rare cases, even higher. That means that was once $1,000 in revenue becomes $15,000-20,000 dollars.

Scale that difference out to thousands of users, every month, and we’re talking about the difference between a company that struggles to make ends meet, and one that does multi million dollars in revenue every year!

Check out this article from marketo for more stats!

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