Internet Marketing Blogs – The Key to Success

The internet is full of information, so much so that it’s often hard to sift through it all to find exactly what you need. When you’re building an online business you might find it hard to learn exactly what your next move should be but I’ve learned that the information is there for the taking, you just have to go out and get it!I am in the business of internet marketing. I have a few clients and my own site and my purpose is to go out and make those sites found by visitors across the net. At first, you might not know where to start but all it takes is a little knowledge and application of that knowledge and you’ll be on your way to becoming a legitimate threat against the competition.This is where internet marketing blogs come into play for me. There are many good ones out there that will give you great guidance for the latest trends and strategies. On top of that, I use these blogs to get ideas for topics for my own business, which is teaching people how to market online.Problogger is a great place to go to get general all-around knowledge for marketing with a blog. Blogs are popular ways to market online because they provide a great outlet for publishing various articles about a variety of topics. You can make it as expansive or specific as you want but a blog provides a great resource for visitors and allows you the range of marketing that will truly become an asset.Copyblogger is another internet marketing blog that I find very useful. They focus primarily on talking about writing copy. Copy is the art of writing a “sales pitch” which will allow you to make conversions on your visitors which translates into sales, which is our ultimate goal.Search Engine Land is a great blog for catching up on the latest search engine news. This is of vital importance because ranking in search engines means getting traffic to your sites. This blog provides great information on what the search engines are up to and how you can take this into account for your SEO (search engine optimization) strategies. Google may have many tricks up their sleeves but as a marketer you need to react and adapt.Finally, my internet marketing blog is called Web Marketing Soup. I try to touch on every topic in internet marketing and do so in a completely honest and compelling way. There is a lot of nonsense on the web today and it can be misleading but I try to avoid that. Nothing beats good old-fashioned work and that will always prevails. I try to provide people with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed and from there it’s up to each and every person to make it happen for himself or herself. A little effort goes a very long way and you can build an online business if you keep at it and have a positive attitude.

How to Leverage Online Forums For Blog Traffic

There’s a very good chance if you are a regular Internet user that you spend a fair amount of time at online forums. For the people reading this article who don’t know what a forum is, here’s a brief introduction.

Online forums or “community forums”, are dynamic websites that allow users to start discussions by posting new topics, which other members of the forum can reply to. Forums are available for any topic with a following from hobbies, to business, to gossip, entertainment – virtually anything!

While forums come in different sizes, from the brand new that resemble ghost towns because no one uses them (yet), to large uber-communities, with tens of thousands of new posts made every day.

I won’t go into more detail because forums, while being simple in concept, are complex in features, you really need to go check some out if you have never seen one. Forums bring together like minded people with a common interest. If you are a forum virgin I think you will quickly become addicted once you join one full of people who share your interests and passions.

HOW TO USE FORUMS TO PROMOTE YOUR BLOG

Let me start with how not to use forums to promote your blog. DON’T join a forum and make your first post something like this

Hey check out my blog, it’s great -

www.myblog.com
Blatant self promotion doesn’t go down well in forums, especially if you are a new member. Forum communities have rules for conduct and won’t tolerate bad behaviour. Often rules are available as “sticky” posts, which are at the top of each forum page, so read them if you are unsure of what is expected from members. Even if there are no specific rules, it’s never a good idea to start off your membership in a community by trying to sell or promote something. Would you start a new friendship by trying to get a person to buy from you? No you wouldn’t, so don’t try it in a forum either.

Credibility, as I’ve mentioned before, is important, and when using forums as a traffic tool for your blog, your credibility is important again. Forum communities often have what I like to call “elders”. These are members who have made thousands of posts and have a lot of respect in the forum. They may be moderators who have been members of the forum for many years. Elders have a lot of credibility since they have devoted so much time to the forums.

ADDING VALUE TO A FORUM

You don’t have to become an “elder” in a forum, although if you find a forum which has the perfect audience for your blog, becoming an “elder” it may be one of the best traffic strategies for you to aim for long term.

The important concept to grasp is — to actually get someone to click through from an entry you make in a forum to your blog you need to have credibility and add value. The more often you add value, the more credibility you gain.

Adding value to a forum is just like adding value to your blog. If you help people to solve problems, gain insights or make money, you add value to their life. How you eventually gain traffic is simple – you leave links to your blog in posts you make in forums.

Here’s how I do it

Step 1: Forum signature and photograph

Your forum signature is the most important tool for gaining traffic from forums. In your signature you leave a link to your blog and for most forums your signature can be automatically added to the end of every post you make. Once you set it up you’re done – every post you make to a forum is a little advertisement for your blog.

Make sure, if the forum rules permit it, that you set this up first. Some forums only allow you to have a signature after you have made a certain number of posts or restrict what content and style you can use in your signature. Be aware of signature policies before creating your signature.

You should also include an avatar/photograph in your profile which is displayed in every post you make. If you are into personal branding like I am, and you should be if you want more blog traffic, it’s important you start exposing your image and name in as many places as you can. Posts made to forums help increase exposure and public awareness of “you”.

Step 2: Add Value

Once you have the basic profile data set up you need to start adding value to the forum. This means you can’t be a lurker – just reading the forum isn’t going to get you traffic. You need to start making posts, demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and personality by helping people, interacting and making friends.

Step 3: Indirect Self Promotion

Once you have built up a little credibility you can start to subtly self promote your blog outside of your signature. It’s still not acceptable to spread links to your blog everywhere, but what I like to do is offer links to my blog pillar articles when one of them is relevant to a question or discussion in a forum. This is a great way to add value to a forum and send traffic to your blog – just remember you have to get the context spot on or you will appear to be self promoting.

SIGNATURE POWER

If you just focus on making 10 value adding posts to forums every day by the end of the year you will have over 3500 links pointing to your blog, sending a nice consistent trickle of traffic to your blog. The more credibility and respect you have in a forum the greater the potential for that trickle to become a stream or even a torrent of traffic.

Five Tips for Selling at Live Auctions

Ah, the old-fashioned country auction! The idea of a country auction conjures up certain images for people. The image of a fast-talking auctioneer offering up an antique table or chair is a popular example.

People who are buying household goods or collectibles are looking to get their items at the lowest price possible. However, the people who are selling their items at auction are hoping for the highest price!

Unless a person is in the business of buying and selling antiques or other items, not a lot of thought goes into how goods are prepared for sale via the auction process. However, if you are one of the growing number of people using auction venues to sell your collectibles or other inventory, there are a few things to learn first about how to sell at auction before you bring a truckload of stuff over to the next event.

Tip 1: Make sure the things you want to sell are a good “fit” for the auction house you’ll be using.

Never bring a load to an auction house without actually having been to one of the previous auctions. It’s important to get a feel for the type of goods that the house sells. For example, at one very rural country auction it was common for the owners to sell live chickens, pots and pans, car parts, and farm equipment.

After close investigation, this would not be the right venue for selling your daughter’s “Hello Kitty” collection. On the other hand, the spare John Deere parts that you bought at last week’s yard sale might be just the right thing for the buying crowd at this auction.

Tip 2: Be sure you clearly understand the terms and policies of the auction house.

Visit with the auctioneer ahead of time. Call to find out what the best days and times are to visit. One of the worst possible times to drop in for an informational visit with an auctioneer is the day of the auction. Call ahead and ask. While you’re at it, find out what are the best days and times to drop your stuff off.

Once you have a little time with the auctioneer, you’ll be able to find out what type of commission he or she takes from consigners (which is you), and what type of paperwork might be needed. Some auction houses send out Form 1099 tax forms at the end of the year. An auctioneer may need to see your identification and have you fill out a W-9. Be prepared.

Find out what happens to your items if they don’t sell. For example, some auctioneers may have a minimum starting bid. If, for some reason, one of your items does not sell, it may be grouped with another one of your pieces. Know the auctioneer’s strategy beforehand so that you aren’t surprised on pay day.

Tip 3: Make sure the auctioneer knows what you’re selling.

It might be perfectly obvious to you that the signed print you are consigning is a rare and valuable piece of art. However, the auctioneer may not know this particular artist. Make a note of anything particularly special about your items, and leave the note with the piece. Be sure to tell the auctioneer about it as well. He or she might determine that this is something to highlight on the company website or in the newspaper listing.

Tip 4: Present your items neatly.

No one likes to have to dig through a box full of grimy and greasy car parts to see what treasures might be in there. Separate the parts and lay them out on a flat, or use more than one box to de-clutter the lot.

There is no need to buy fancy display boxes. It’s easy enough to go to the local convenience store or supermarket and ask if you can have the emptied boxes or flats that they are discarding.

While it’s good to present clean items, take care not to ruin the value of anything by over cleaning. For example, if you find some old cast iron cookware, clean the obvious dirt and grime, but don’t scrub it to its original finish. For many people, this ruins the value of the item. So, clean and tidy and organized is the key here.

Tip 5: Don’t complain to the auctioneer if your stuff doesn’t sell for as much as you’d like.

The phrase to remember here is, “You win some; you lose some.” That’s just the way it is. There are some days where an auction house is loaded with people who all seem to want what you’re selling. There will be other days where the crowd is sparse, and the bidding is simply not competitive.

Remember that it’s in the auctioneer’s best interest to sell your things for the highest possible hammer price. But sometimes, it’s just not going to be a stellar sale. The auctioneer is only human, and is also disappointed if a sale doesn’t go as well as planned.

If you notice that every time you bring a bunch of goods to sell that you’re not realizing as much as you think you honestly should, try another auction venue and compare apples to apples. That is, bring the same types of items to the new auctioneer and compare the results.

Unless the auctioneer is particularly disagreeable or inconsiderate to you or buyers, there is no reason to confront him or her about a sale. If you find you just don’t care for an auctioneer’s style or methods, find another one. Believe me, there are plenty of them out there!

The primary thing to remember as you learn how to sell at auction is that the business is unpredictable at best. You will have good days, some not-so-good days, some great days. The more you sell, the more experience you will gain, and the more enjoyable the business will be.