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Creating a Good Content Marketing Campaign: Part 2

Creating a Good Content Marketing Campaign: Part 2

Creating a successful content marketing strategy requires planning and thinking before you actually go ahead about it. Yesterday, we’ve seen two of the main things you need to think about. Here are some more:

Know who your audience is and what they want

While you may know what your target market is for your main business, you should also find out more specifically about the visitors to your website. Find out who they truly are, what they’re looking for and what’s important to them. There are many methods available online to truly discover your website’s audience. You may be surprised by the findings.

The point here is that your content should be something that your audience will like and will want to read.

Ask yourself why you’re creating the content

You need to be honest with yourself on this one, as it is something that’s directly linked to what your content marketing campaign is going to achieve. Since you’re running a business and not just creating a website for fun, your goal probably isn’t to “spread knowledge and increase the global intelligence levels”.

But you need to know what the purpose of the content will be. Is it to get people to know your brand better, to know that you’re out there and you exist? Do you want to establish yourself as an authority in your niche? Do you want to offer your readers solutions to their problems, while pointing them to how your company’s products and services can solve them? Do you want clicks on your PPC ads, or visitors to buy something from affiliate offers that you’re promoting?

All of these are valid objectives that your campaign can have. Of course, the list is not exhaustive and you can have some other things in mind too. But the most important thing here is that you know WHY you’re creating the content in the first place.

How often will you post things?

We’re not talking about SEO methods here, so you can forget the “post something every day” rule. You need to know how often you will be posting things. Will it be whenever you have something meaningful to say, or will you follow a certain schedule? If so, what will the schedule be: every day, every few days, every week, every month, etc.?

While posting on a regular schedule can have SEO benefits and also bring in some regular readers, you should be careful not to start posting just for the sake of posting. If you keep repeating the same things over and over, post bland content or simply restate what was said on other websites a million times already, people will rapidly lose interest in your content.

What Type of Content Will You Use?

“Content” usually refers to the written word, but there are other types as well, such as infographics, videos, and other multimedia. Think of what content types will fit your company well and will interest your visitors. Remember that you can mix content types as well, such as an article that contains an infographic within the body that provides a visual complement.

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Creating a Good Content Marketing Campaign: Part 1

Creating a Good Content Marketing Campaign: Part 1

Content marketing is something that’s talked about a lot in online marketing circles. If you search any forum or online marketing information site, you will find tons of entries about it. Some people may think that it’s something that affiliate marketers use to push shady nutritional supplement CPA offers or the latest “make money now” ebook from Clickbank. Sure, it can be used for that. But it can also be an important element in a businesses overall online marketing strategy. It can help a company connect with its audience, promote its brand and draw attention to itself. Sometimes it can lead to direct sales. Other times, it will just inform the site visitor and let them make the decision as to whether the company’s products are right for them at this very moment.

If you’re serious about deploying a content marketing strategy for your business, then you need to do things in a well planned way. You wouldn’t start a Google Adwords campaign without doing the proper research beforehand. You shouldn’t start content marketing without a plan either. Before you even define your objectives and see what you want to accomplish by using this kind of marketing approach, there are a few questions that you need to ask yourself.

Here are some of the main ones:

Do you really know your company and your brand?

You may say “sure I do!” but when it comes to creating content, you need to ask yourself: what exactly does my company do and what is its purpose. What do you want it to do in the future and how do you want to get there successfully. This will help guide you into producing the right kind of content.

You also need to be aware of your brand and its overall style. Do you want to keep going as you’ve been doing right now, or are there certain things you want to change? If until now, you’ve taken a more traditional and serious approach, it may not be a good idea to start loading every page with jokes and using memes just because it “looks cool” and you’ve seen others do it. If your brand isn’t that popular online yet, changing direction may be possible, but you should know that it will affect the way your audience sees your company for a long time. Therefore, you need to think about both the short and long term implications of the content that you’re going to post online for marketing purposes.

These are the two main things that you need to reflect about when you’re starting an online content marketing campaign. Of course, there are other elements that you need to keep in consideration to build a complete marketing strategy that you can use in the long term. There are additional elements that we will explore tomorrow and will give you a clearer picture.

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Getting Your Facebook Page to Work – Part 3

Getting Your Facebook Page to Work – Part 3

So you’ve set up your Facebook page, but aren’t really happy with the results. You believed that by creating your page, you gave your fans a space where they can not only view your content, but also exchange ideas. But it isn’t working out like you wanted it to. Maybe you’re not satisfied with the number of fans that you got. Or nobody’s really paying attention to you on Facebook. Previously, we’ve seen some reasons as to why this may happen. Here are some more reasons behind low fan engagement and what you can do to reverse this trend.

Timing is Everything

Think of the daily schedule of your typical fan. Are they people who party all night? Are they individuals who work 9 to 5? Do a bit of research on your demographic. You can find some interesting results that show just when people who are in your targeted group are using the internet. By posting during the time of the day where your fans are likely to be online and using social networking sites, you increase the chances that they will actually see your post and pay attention to it.

Timing doesn’t exclusively refer to the time of day either, but it could be related to the season as well. Are your products and services something that people typically use all year round, or something that’s popular only in one specific season. Some examples: people are more likely to pay attention to gardening stuff during the spring and summer. You can’t really work on planting new flowers when your garden is covered in snow, so even those who are interested in gardening won’t engage with you as much during the winter. There could still be some conversations going on, but it won’t be at the same intensity.

Building a Responsive Fan Base Takes Time

Just because you’ve created a new fan page, it doesn’t mean that people will jump in on it right away, especially if you’re a new business. Sure, there are countless examples where a product or company went viral and their content spread like wildfire, but these are exceptions and not the standard rule when it comes to social media. Give it some time. You may begin to see improvements after you’ve been posting interesting content on your wall for a few weeks.

Consider Promoting Your Posts

Facebook’s advertising system has undergone some changes in the past few months, which are designed at making things easier for marketers. The “promoted posts” feature is definitely one of the most interesting ones. It allows your posts to be seen by a larger percentage of users who are your fans. You can also explore some of the other paid advertising features that are offered by Facebook. Of course, this requires some monetary investment, but if you’ve applied the other tips that you were given on the topic of fan engagement, it may be something worth looking at. To save money, you can try to find some Facebook coupons that give you a certain amount of money in free advertising as well.

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Getting Your Facebook Page to Work – Part 2

Getting Your Facebook Page to Work – Part 2

Yesterday, we’ve seen some reasons as to why your Facebook page might not be giving you the results you had originally hoped for. But there are actually more issues that could be the cause of the problem. Today, we will examine some more of these and will give you a few solutions that you can employ as well.

Here are some more reasons behind common Facebook problems and ways to resolve them:

You don’t participate in the conversation

If you start seeing some responses to your posts, or people posting stuff on your Facebook page, you should respond to them. Do this from the very beginning. If your fans see your page and notice that you don’t bother to answer questions or comments that others have made, they will figure: nah, why bother? They won’t answer me either, so I’m just wasting my time by commenting.

It has been shown that companies which engage their users actively on Facebook get better results: more participation, more shares and more likes, which results in more fans coming in and more sales.

You don’t update your page consistently

This is another turn off for users. If your page isn’t updated on a regular basis, it just looks like a ghost town: there are a few things there, but in general, it looks lifeless and deserted. Many people won’t be too comfortable speaking on your page if they notice they will be alone. And if you haven’t posted anything in quite a while, they may assume you’ve simply abandoned your page or that your company went out of business. So once again, the users will think: why bother? I’m just wasting my time here.

Now it’s important not to exaggerate in the other sense either. Don’t post just for the sake of posting. Have something useful to say, but post once every few days at least. This will make your page look more alive and inviting.

Your target audience doesn’t use Facebook much

They all say that Facebook is simply the best in the world when it comes to social media. Hey, everyone, no matter their age group or interests, uses Facebook, right? True, but there are some who use it less than others. Figure out what your target audience is. Then, figure out what social networking sites they use.

If you have something that’s really artistic, maybe using Instagram or Pinterest may draw more attention to your business, as these networks are heavier on the “visual sharing” aspect of things. If you’re in the B2B industry, perhaps your audience members use Facebook for personal reasons, but not so much for business. They prefer to use LinkedIn. Also, don’t forget discussion boards, forums and other niche specific online communities. These are social sites too!

This doesn’t mean that you should simply scrap your Facebook page thinking that it’s useless. It’s not. Having a presence on various social networks can be beneficial, but you need to be aware that some networks will give you better results than others.

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Getting Your Facebook Page to Work – Part 1

Getting Your Facebook Page to Work – Part 1

So, now you know that your Facebook page isn’t quite working out the way you were planning in the beginning. You bought into the whole “Make a Facebook page and it will be a magic online marketing solution”, except that it’s anything but magic. You have a few fans, but they don’t seem to pay too much attention to what you’re posting. You may get a few likes and shares here and there, but the numbers are really dismal. Maybe you get a comment or two on posts that you make, but once again, this is just a comment or two. No matter how hard you try to be interesting, it’s not really working out for you. So, what is causing all of this negativity and how to fix it? Here are some of the possible reasons:

You’re not really posting anything interesting

You need to consider that people who are on Facebook are there to communicate and be entertained. This isn’t a business directory like the Yellow Pages. This isn’t LinkedIn, where serious individuals wearing suits and ties scour profile looking for business opportunities and profitable partnerships. You have real people who are looking for something interesting.

Try to make your posts provoke a reaction among your audience. Maybe use humor. Post content that is varied, not the same thing over and over again. Post different types of content: text, pictures, infographics, videos, etc. But above all, show some enthusiasm yourself. Now you don’t need to jump up and down with excitement every day about your Facebook page, but if you’ve made it to be a chore, or just another item on your online marketing “to do” list, that lack of enthusiasm will translate into poor quality posts. You need to make everything that you post meaningful and likable to your audience.

You’re talking about yourself a bit too much

But social media marketing is all bout “marketing”, right? Getting people to look at your stuff and hope that they will buy things from you, no? Well… sure that’s something that you can use it for, but it’s more than just about promoting yourself. If all that you do is post links to products on your website, or link to blog posts that you’ve made, your fans will lose the motivation to follow your posts with interest. When your stuff appears on their news feeds, it will be just one more “ad” to them and they will rapidly come to ignore them, even if they had a bit of interest in your products in the beginning.

Try to write some interesting content related to your industry. Link to articles, videos, inforgraphics, etc. that you find online, even if they don’t come from your won business. Find content that your fans may like and then share it on your page. Remember, your Facebook page shouldn’t be one big advertising page, but rather a way to communicate and exchange with your fans, even if every exchange doesn’t end with a sale.

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More Online Reputation Tips

More Online Reputation Tips

Building and maintaining a good online reputation for your company isn’t too difficult. It mainly revolves around using all of the available channels to make sure that positive information about your business and products appears in search results when someone looks up your company name on Google. Here is some more information on what you can do to make this all happen:


  • Update Your Site and Social Media on a Regular Basis


This is not only good for SEO, but will also help when potential customers research your company. Even if there isn’t anything new going on, you can always update your social media accounts by referring to your current product selection or promotions. This shows users that you’re actively involved in your business.


  • Link Your Business to Your Personal Social Media Accounts


People also want to know who is behind the company they’re dealing with, especially if they’re going to make a large purchase with you. When you post press releases or articles to directories, include some information about yourself and your role in the company. Also, add your company to your personal profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn. This makes it easier to see who is in charge of your business.


  • Get Your Products Reviewed by Experts


Having your products talked about in a positive way by industry experts, especially those who have a large following and are well respected for their reviews, is definitely something that can help you with your online reputation. It may not always be easy, especially if you’ve just started out, but if you know someone who does YouTube video reviews or who writes about certain products on his blog, having him review something that you sell will help reassure people that your products are of high quality.


  • Encourage Your Buyers to Leave Reviews


Link to reviews of your business and products on other sites. Encourage those who have done business with you to leave comments and reviews. You can also have a review section on each of your product pages, but having comments on external sites will be a lot more useful in gaining the confidence of buyers.


  • Monitor Your Reputation Actively


There are plenty of online services that allow you to get regular updates regarding what is said about your business online. Or, you could simply do a Google search yourself from time to time. Doing so will allow you to see how you’re doing and address any possible problems and complaints before they become problematic.


  • Be Easily Reachable


Ensure that your customers have ways to contact you should there be something wrong with a purchase they’ve made from you. Respond to their inquiries in a rapid and professional way. Take care to resolve any problem, no matter how small the amount involved is or whether you feel that it’s the buyer’s fault. This will reduce the chance of them complaining about the whole situation to other people online and will give you the chance to have a satisfied customer instead of a disgruntled one.

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How to Prevent Click Fraud

How to Prevent Click Fraud

Dealing with click fraud is nothing new. In fact, it has been around in some form ever since pay per click advertising had appeared online in the 1990s. While it is something that is commonly associated with PCs, the fact is that even mobile campaigns are increasingly being targeted in click fraud schemes. But there are things that you, as an advertiser, can do in order to keep from wasting your advertising dollars on fraudulent traffic. Here are some of them:


  • Start paying attention to your statistics


Check where your traffic is coming from, when it is coming to your site and how many of these clicks result in conversions. You should also explore the activity of the users on your site, such as the amount of pages that they visit, or the length of time they spend on your website. One of the reasons why click fraud flourishes is the fact that advertisers often don’t pay too much attention to their campaigns.


  • Recognize the signs of click fraud


Fraudulent clicks can be generated in two ways. First, there is the simple server side fraud, where a publisher, or advertising network, is manipulating server data to bill you for clicks that simply never went to your website. To protect yourself from this, you will need to compare the amount of clicks that you’ve received on your website, as well as the number of clicks reported on the advertising network’s statistics. It is normal that there might be a bit of a difference in the sets of numbers, but if you start seeing a noticeable discrepancy between the number of clicks you see on your server stats and the number reported by publishers, there is a chance that something is going wrong. Either their tracking system is having problems or they are doing something sketchy. This type of fraud is rare on larger publishers and advertising networks, as it is unlikely that they would want to ruin their reputation by engaging in fraudulent behavior. But on the other hand, the smaller players, especially those based in foreign countries where enforcement of internet crime is either very lax or nonexistent, may not really give too much attention to their reputation.


There is also fraud that is more complex than just manipulating the numbers on server data. It often comes as the result of fraudsters using bots and other unauthorized means to generate ad clicks that didn’t come from a real user. While it may seem to be quite a challenge to detect, it actually isn’t that complex. Tomorrow we will present you with some more ideas on how you can spot this kind of fraud and what actions you can take to prevent it from causing potentially serious losses for your business. Remember, when it comes to online marketing, the more knowledge you have, the better prepared you will be to face many of the challenges and potential problems involved with this industry.

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Creating Email Messages That Convert: Some Important Advice

Creating Email Messages That Convert: Some Important Advice

Email marketing is one of the best ways for online marketers to get people to buy their products. But in order for them to be a truly effective marketing tool, they need to be used correctly. The first thing you need to think about is the email message itself. Here are some basic tips that will help you create messages that convert much better than before.


  • A Good Headline is a MUST!


We’re in 2012. People tend to get dozens of email messages a day. Some of them are personal emails from friends and family members. Others are business related messages. Then there’s notifications sent out by social media sites, etc. Finally, we have commercial email messages that come from mailing lists that the user has subscribed to.


The first obstacle to getting your email to convert is actually getting the user to open your message. For this, you need to make a good first impression by creating a headline (email subject) that will engage the user and make them open the message to read more.


Try to understand your target customers. What would make them want to read your email? What kind of wording would draw their attention? You can try to get the recipient to guess the content of your email based on the subject header. Or, ask them a question in it. But no matter what you do, don’t use subject lines that are misleading and unrelated to the actual content. While you may think this is clever, it’s not a good strategy. First, you will trip up spam filters, which have gotten far more advanced in the last few years. If your subject keywords are completely unrelated to the text in your message, there is a high chance the message ends up in the “junk” folder. Second, and even worse, is that you risk irritating the recipient. What this means is that they will either unsubscribe from your list, or simply stop paying attention to your future messages, thinking that you’re just trying to trick them again.


  • Take Advantage of Message Preview Snippets


Depending on which email service your recipient uses, they may be able to see the first sentences of your message next to the subject line, or by mousing over the message when it’s in their inbox. Naturally, you will want to take advantage of this. Don’t start off your email with your address, phone number, or the classic “Can’t see the message? Click here”. This doesn’t give the user any information on what is inside.


Instead, create a catchy title that will serve as the headline of the email message itself. It shouldn’t be your email subject rewritten in different words. Rather, it should provide the reader with a bit more information on what you’re going to be talking to them about in your message. This may convince someone to open your message even if your subject didn’t really do the trick for them.



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Making Your Site Mobile Friendly: Some More Options

Making Your Site Mobile Friendly: Some More Options

Previously, we’ve taken a look at how making your site more “mobile friendly” is not only necessary in today’s world, but also relatively simple to do. Webmasters and online marketers have many options available to them when they want to create a website that will display well on mobile phones, such as the Apple iPhone and Android based devices.


We’ve seen that it is relatively simple to build a mobile site from the ground up, by using a content management system such as WordPress or by using a free site publishing service such as Google Pages or the Tumblr blogging system. Of course, there is always the option of building an HTML website without using a CMS and just ensuring that it will display well on mobile devices.


But what about webmasters that already have a website up and want to transform it so that it’s mobile friendly? There are a few options for that.


If your site is an e-commerce website, then you should do a bit of research on the shopping cart solution that you’re using right now to see if it supports mobile websites. Many shopping cart systems can let you easily take your existing site and transform it into a mobile version, either right out of the box or through the use of a plugin. Accessing the community help forums dedicated to your e-commerce system may provide you with some good help and advice.


If your site is based on a CMS such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, then you will probably have it easy. You can use some of the plugins mentioned in yesterday’s post to instantly make your website mobile compatible. Again, if you want to ensure that everything will work right, all three of the major content management systems have help libraries and community support groups that can provide you with advice, as well as point out any known issues or compatibility problems.


In other cases, there are some more solutions available. You can use a third party service that allows you to take content from your existing website and create a separate mobile version of it. If you search around, you will see many such services being advertised online. One of the most popular ones is called Duda Mobile. The advantage of using it is that it has both a free version and a paid one.


The free version wouldn’t be recommended for online business due to its limitations. You only get 500 MB of bandwidth per month, plus third party ads will be displayed on your site. The premium version is available for just $9 per month. You get an unlimited amount of pages, unlimited bandwidth, no ads, plus access to technical support by email.


As you can see, there are plenty of options available out there for webmasters who want to have a mobile version of their site up and running. By spending a little bit of time and money to accomplish this, you can greatly increase the profitability of your site in the long term, as an ever increasing number of internet users are browsing through a mobile phone.


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Making Your Site Mobile Friendly: Your Options

Making Your Site Mobile Friendly: Your Options

Now that you’ve decided to create a mobile friendly website, let’s look at some of the options available to you as a webmaster:


  • Using a Content Management System (CMS)


Most business websites today run on a database driven content management system, with the most popular options being WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. These systems are the most popular choices, as they are free and open source. This means they’re also highly customizable, with different plugins and themes available that can help you make a mobile website.


WordPress is known to be the easiest system to work with. You simply install it on your web hosting account, pick a theme that you like and then go on to customize your site by adding images, photos, as well as the content, which could be text, video, etc. While it’s widely seen as a blogging platform, it’s not just for blogs. Once you get your site built, you can use the WPTouch plugin, which will turn your existing WordPress website into a fully mobile compatible site. The plugin is relatively easy to use and includes full documentation on its features.


For those who are using Joomla instead, there is the Joomla Mobile Extension which works in the same way. A similar story for Drupal, which has the Drupal Mobile Plugin. It changes the way a website is displayed when accessed from a mobile device.


  • Using Static HTML Pages


Unless you want a small site that isn’t updated frequently and that doesn’t have user interactive features (comments, ratings, etc.) using a static HTML website instead of a CMS isn’t really recommended. Creating mobile websites without a CMS will usually require some knowledge of web design concepts and HTML. If this is your choice, there are some tools which can simplify the process and limit the need to manually code pages. Some are free, such as the Gridless tool which incorporates elements of mobile website design into an easy to use template. Other, more powerful programs exist. They can range in price from $0 to over $200.


  • Using a Free Hosted Website Solution


While this is usually not recommended for larger businesses and sites, it’s possible to create a simple mobile site using a free hosting provider. You can of course, purchase your own domain name and redirect it to the site in the majority of cases.


Tumblr is a choice to look for. While it’s more off a social blogging platform rather than a business tool, there are quite a few small business websites based on Tumblr. There is a Tumblr Mobile Theme now available that can be enabled in the Advanced theme options of the theme customization panel.


Google Sites also has a mobile site design option. You just select a template, make a few customizations such as the colors, then add the text and additional content you want displayed on your site. Google Sites now has an option specifically made for mobile site design, which many small business owners use.


But what if you already have a website and want to make a mobile version of it? We will take a look at your options for that tomorrow.

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Increasing Your Local Business’ Online Visibility

Increasing Your Local Business’ Online Visibility

Have you just started to use the internet to promote your local business and want to gain more visibility online? There are several ways to accomplish this and many channels that you can use to get your business feature more prominently in search engine results as well as other sites that users interested in what you have to offer would visit. Here are some easy methods you can use to get started:

  • Get a Website

There are plenty of solutions available to create your business website. There is also a lot of information available freely online about web building that you can use. Of course, you also have the option to hire an individual or a company to create your site for you. The most important part is having a site. When you begin, you can create a simple “place holder” page for your business, with its name, address, contact information, opening hours, logo, some pictures and basic information on what you have to offer. All of this can easily fit into one page. This is perfect if you want to get online but you don’t have the time or money to get a full website done right now.

  • Be Sociable

While there are various ways of getting more attention to your business, social media is one of the easiest and most efficient ones. Before you look at any other types of advertising methods, you should create social media pages for your business on all of the main networks. Build your presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and don’t forget Google +. Creating a page for your business on social networking sites is easy. All you need to do is to input the same information than you would on a one page website that presents your business (opening hours, products, contact info, etc). Plus, you can share pictures, videos and other media on your page.

There is a whole lot more that you can do with a social media page for your business, but setting one up is obviously the first step. Be sure to link your personal profiles with your business page and share the page with your friends, or at least those that you think would be interested in your business. This will help you get some exposure and will be very beneficial in search engine rankings.

  • Create a YouTube Video

YouTube isn’t just a site for watching music videos and putting up a cute video of your dog riding a skateboard. You can also use it to draw more attention to your business. There are many ideas, but the most simple one involves a short presentation of your business, followed by a video of you walking around parts of it (if it’s a retail store) and a link to your website in the description. While it won’t be as effective as a TV commercial, it will get you one more point of exposure online and help your standing in search engine results too.

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Protecting Your Online Business: Preventing and Recovering From Attacks on Your Site

Protecting Your Online Business: Preventing and Recovering From Attacks on Your Site

Now that you know how your online business can be attacked, it’s time to figure out ways that you can use to prevent them from happening. Many of these ideas are actually simple to implement, so any online business owner should take a look at them. No website can be made completely untouchable to dedicated groups of malicious individuals, however there are various ways that can be put forward to reduce the chance of an attack, as well as immediately stop the damage if one does happen.

  • Choose your hosting wisely

Your web host is where your site will be residing so it is extremely important that you choose one that takes security seriously. Avoid free and very cheap hosts, as they often tend to make compromises about security in order to achieve such cheap prices. Before selecting a web host, read some independent user reviews to see if that company has had any serious issues with hacking and security in the past and how they helped their users recover from damage and secure their site if an attack has occurred.

While this option may not be the best choice for everyone, using a VPS or dedicated hosting type instead of shared hosting offers much better security than a shared hosting server, where all websites are put together on one server, thus making it easier for malware to spread. If your business grows, investing in top quality hosting might be a good choice.

  • Maintain backups of your site

Having regular backups of the entire contents of your website is very important as this is what will help you recover should your site have been attacked. There are many web hosting companies which do daily backups of your site for you (or at least claim they do) or let you create a backup copy of your site and keep it on their servers. However, there are many hosting customers that have expressed dissatisfaction that when they needed them, the backups were not available or they had extreme difficulty getting their web host to restore their website to the way it was before. Therefore, it is always a good idea to maintain regular backups either locally, or on a remote backup server that is not run by your main web host.

Having a backup copy of your site is the only way that you can restore it back to how it was in case it is compromised, so it is not a step that you should skip, even though it may take a bit of time and effort. Remember, restoring a site from backup will require less energy and cause less down time than trying to rebuild a website that has lost all of its content from zero.

These are two main things that you can do to better protect your business, but of course they’re not the only actions you can take to increase your site’s security. Tomorrow we will look at more methods that you can use to ensure your site’s protection.

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Protecting Your Online Business: Understanding the Types of Attacks

Protecting Your Online Business: Understanding the Types of Attacks

If you run any type of online business, knowing how to protect yourself from malicious attacks on your site is important. The simple reason behind this is that these attacks can affect your business in a very negative way and cause serious losses. One of the things that you need to do first is to understand the types of attacks that your online business could fall victim to. Here are the most common types:

  • Denial of Service Attacks

A Denial of Service (DOS) attack occurs when attackers flood a website with too many requests so that it goes offline as the server can’t handle the traffic. This has the effect of making your website unavailable.

  • Theft of information

This happens when hackers break into a site and steal sensitive information. This could include the personal information of your clients and members, or the contents of your email messages. This can lead to serious problems for those whose information was compromised as well as a loss of reputation for the business in question.

  • Site defacing

Pretty much a form of vandalism in the online world. A website is hacked and the home page is changed to a different message. Often times it would just be a “Hacked by (insert name here)” message, but can also take different forms. For example, your website could be redirected to another site, or it could be used to deliver malware. This can obviously make you lose revenue and affect the reputation of your business.

  • Affiliate link hijacking

This form of intrusion is a lot more subtle. A site that is compromised will have its affiliate links changed so that all sales go into the account of the hacker rather than yours. This could also be done with hosted pay per click ads, where the ad code on your site is replaced by that of the hacker. Users will not really notice anything too different about the site, but it obviously will make you lose revenue until you realize what is going on.

  • Comment and post spam

This is obviously a serious problem with any site that accepts user generated content, such as blog comments, forum posts or reviews. The spam is either done manually or through the use of automated tools. Usually, this can easily be recognized as the messages posted will look quite nonsensical and have links to websites that are completely unrelated to the context of your site. When done manually, it can be more subtle and be harder to detect. Having a site full of spam comments will reduce the user experience, as a legitimate visitor will have to wade through dozens of spam posts to find anything useful. Having such spam on your website can also affect your SEO and get you penalized by Google.

There are, however numerous ways that you can use to protect yourself from these attacks, which we will see tomorrow.

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Tips for Online Entrepreneurs: Part 2

Tips for Online Entrepreneurs: Part 2

We’ve seen two good tips to help build a good online business yesterday. There are more that you can use. These are all strategies that are used by some of the most successful names in online business. They aren’t specific to a particular subset of online business, so you can use them whether you own content websites, are selling items on eBay, are an affiliate, etc.

  • Do everything possible to work smarter and not harder

In the online world, most businesses don’t demand “hard” work in the sense that you would constantly need to solve complex problems. However, in many cases it is simply a large quantity of seemingly very simple work that keeps people from achieving their goals. For example, if you’re promoting a dozen different affiliate offers using different advertising channels, you may need to build over 30 separate landing pages for them, complete with graphics, unique text content and other elements. Not particularly difficult, but can become quite tedious. A lot of people lose their motivation if they spend hours performing the same tasks over and over.

The solution to this is actually quite simple. First, find and use any tools that you can use to automate processes in your business. There are scripts, programs, apps, etc. which can save you a lot of time and reduce the amount of tedious work you need to do. For example, there are programs which can submit articles to directories automatically.

You may also want to outsource some parts of your business to others, such as content creation, graphic design, etc. This may reduce your profits, however the time that you gain will keep your more motivated and can be used to search for more business opportunities, thus making you more money in the long run.

  • Keep track of how your different businesses are doing

If you own several online businesses that are in different niches, you should ensure that you’re keeping an eye on all of them. This will allow you to constantly monitor your performance and make adjustments if necessary, even for businesses that run on “autopilot”.

  • Keep up new developments

There are two kinds of developments that you should keep up with: those that are related to online marketing in general and those which are more specific to your niche of products or to the type of business that you run.

Be sure to read any emails that you get from partners, such as affiliate programs. They may contain important information about upcoming changes that could have an effect on how you earn online. Read some posts on online marketing forums. Also, check out websites which specialize in aggregating news related to online business. You don’t have to spend too much time on this, just a few minutes a day to scan the headlines or new posts, then take a bit of time to read something that you find interesting.

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