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As an online merchant, your efforts should not stop after building your product, then writing a sales letter to sell it and implementing a marketing campaign to direct traffic to your website. You should also pay attention to the conversion rate of your sales page in real time, so you would know how good your product sells. Creating a good product is not all. You need to constantly tweak your product's sales page and how it does its real job to catch the attention of the visitor and sell your product. By measuring a conversion rate of your sales page, you are able to get a lot of valuable information. It can provide you with a lot of benefits including the following:

1.Identifying inefficiencies in layout, web design, copywriting, and other website components
Often people judge a website by how it looks before actually looking for what it offers. A site that is difficult to navigate or is full of crappy content will most likely turn off any potential customers. A sales page conversion rate analysis can give you details on what pages the links directed the customers to.

2.Maximize marketing expenditures
By using information provided in the sales page conversion rate analysis you can optimize the value of your resources. You can focus your resources on aspects of your marketing campaign that need beefing up while improving parts that are already working for you. This way, you can prevent wasting money on strategies that do not work and keywords that do not perform.

3.Increase customer sales and acquisition
Since the conversion rate analysis of your sales page can clue you in on what works and what doesn't, you can expect increase in sales and revenues once the inefficiencies have been addressed and the marketing strategies, refocused.

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This is the final part in the series effective business blog redesign.You can refer back to part 1 and part2 of the series for more details. Remember this is a republished article originally written by Cameron Chapman.

5. Make Provisions for Other Content
While most business blogs still focus primarily on text it’s important to make provisions for rich multimedia content. You never know when you might want to expand your blog to include podcasts, slide shows or video content. Even something as simple as including images in a post is sometimes overlooked in the initial blog design. Think about the types of content that are commonly incorporated into blog posts and then think about how you can best serve those kinds of content within the design. Even things like making sure your main content column is wide enough to properly display images or video shouldn't be overlooked.

6. Make the blog a Reflection of Your Company’s Values and Personality
The design of your blog should reflect your company values and corporate culture. A company with a traditional take on things should reflect that in their blog design. A company that’s hip and modern should have a hip and modern blog design.

Besides these important points some other key factors to be kept in mind while thinking of blog redesign are:
  • Paginate comments if you regularly get more than 10-20 comments on your posts.
  • Separate your comments from your trackbacks (incoming links to blog posts from other website).
  • Include a gravatar image for your commenters.
Blog designers, however talented, cannot change your corporate DNA. Work with them towards a presentation that is inviting, open and flexible while accurately representing the values and style of your business.

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This is the second post post in the series "effective blog designs".In the previous post I have discussed the merits of Typography and readability.Here in this post I am going to discuss about nest two important facts:

3. Establish a Hierarchy of Site Elements
There’s a definite hierarchy of design and content elements in any blog design. You just need to make sure that the hierarchy your design establishes is the one you intended. In other words, make sure that the most important parts of your design and content are most prominently displayed.In most business blogs the two most important elements are going to be the main content and the header, which should include branding for the company. Make sure that when you look at the design of you blog that those are the two elements that stand out among all the others. Make sure, too, that hierarchy within elements makes sense. Your blog post titles, for example, should stand out over any subheadings contained within the posts. Elements within your sidebar should be arranged in a manner that makes sense in terms of usability (for example, the navigation of your blog should appear above any blogroll links you choose to incorporate).

4. Don’t Forget Comment Design!
Almost every business blog wants to foster communication and discussion with their visitors. After all, an engaged readership is more likely to come back on a regular basis and more likely to be loyal to your company.The comment form on your blog should be easy to use and make it apparent which fields are required (most often a name, email address, and the comment itself). The comments should be arranged and formatted in a way that clearly separates each comment. Make sure that the typography—the size and contrast in particular—make it easy to read the comments. You’ll also want to decide whether you want your comments to appear in chronological order or in a threaded manner (where replies appear under the comment being replied to). If you want to foster conversation among commenters, then the latter option will almost certainly work better. If you mostly want your commenters to converse with your authors, then the former might work better. Differentiate your author comments, too, to make it easier for readers to see an author’s responses to other commenters. Of course, if your authors rarely or never comment (which isn't a good thing), this becomes irrelevant.

The final part in this series is due next when another two important facts about successful business blog redesign will be discussed.

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This is a republished post originally written by Cameron Chapman

The design of your business blog has a huge impact on how it is perceived by your visitors. A great design instills trust, makes you more credible and invites your readers to participate. A poor design can make your blog and your company look unprofessional.

Just as with regular website design, there are certain best practices you should keep in mind when working on the design of your blog. The best practices of regular website design still apply, of course, but there are also important blog specific considerations:

1. Don’t Insist on Your Blog Design Matching Your Website Design Perfectly
So many business blogs try to shoehorn a blog into their existing website design. That’s fine if your website has a text-centric design that’s similar to a blog design to begin with. But many great business websites don’t resemble blogs at all. In those cases, it’s important for your blog design to echo your website design, but it doesn't need to match it perfectly. Your blog design should instead repeat elements like the graphics or color scheme, and should incorporate similar typography.

2.Focus on Typography and Readability
Since blogs mostly revolve around text content, it’s important that your design makes that content easily readable. This means using a font that’s suitable for reading onscreen, as well as having proper contrast and a font that’s large enough.As a general rule, dark text on a light background is more readable than light text on a dark background. Just look at white text on a black screen for a few minutes and then look at a light surface. You’ll see black bands super-imposed on your vision for up to a few minutes. The same effect doesn't happen with a light
background and dark text. You also want to limit the number of fonts used on your blog. Ideally, use one or at most two fonts in your design. Instead of using more than two fonts use multiple weights and styles in the fonts you choose to add diversity to your typography.

Next part will reveal the next 2 important details to watch out for a successful blog redesign.

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Blogs have existed for more than 10 years and have become respectable news outlets, vehicles of change within organizations and communications tools for product announcements and updates. They also provide an opportunity to humanize a company to its market.

Every year the powerful blog search engine Technorati publishes a “State of the Blogosphere” that surveys bloggers of all backgrounds for information and trends about the state of the blogging affairs. The latest report has compelling data on the growing impact of business blogging. In fact, Technorati has tracked more than 133 million blogs, an indication by itself that blogging’s impact is not about to diminish anytime soon.

In the State of the Blogosphere, Technorati found that:
  • 71% of bloggers are blogging to speak their minds
  • 72% of bloggers want to share their expertise
  • 61% of bloggers do so to make money or for business purposes
  • 53% of professional bloggers aim to attract new clients

Almost all bloggers have found that blogs have made them better known in their industry as a result of maintaining and updating their blogs.The argument for blogging is all around us. We may know a blogger or two. We may know a dozen or a hundred bloggers. And among those we know, we find that many are doing so for business purposes. Whether it is the hobbyist who just wants to make a few cents off Google AdSense or the enterprise social media company that has elected to launch a blog to showcase its expertise in expansive applications, blogging is an affordable way for individuals and companies alike to become a respected voice in an increasingly competitive online environment.

What do blogs do for your business? Like all other means of social media promotion, blogs can:
  • Establish thought leadership, which is especially evident by the findings of the Technorati State of the Blogosphere report.
  • Increase traffic to websites, since bloggers can optimize for keywords using search engine optimization techniques that will help customers find the business or product that they need.
  • Help build links to corporate web sites, which will help people find your business in online searches.
  • Build brand awareness, which gets your business known globally or wherever you are looking to be found.
Blogs have done something else too. In the last few years, we’ve seen companies take blogs to make businesses human again. Giving blogs a human face – which should almost be a prerequisite for blogs (an avatar and personal stories are highly encouraged!) – allows readers know that they’re doing business with someone they trust: people like them.

With the right content and approach toward your readership, businesses can develop strong links that will help them build a solid reputation and foundation online. As content is consistently produced and comments are consistently reviewed and/or responded to, businesses are bound to find new readers who will check the site frequently for updates, get new search traffic, and establish visibility in their industry.

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Updating information frequently to a website can have a significant increase in the quantity of visitors it receives. Renowned search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN prefer sites that are habitually added with more content.

The benefits of regularly updating your website are as under:

1.Long tail Search Traffic
When a website has regular content it helps in receiving more precise "long tail" keyword searches from search engines that cannot be attracted through regular SEO.

2. Faster indexing
Most search engines catalog news and blog sites faster than normal websites there fore regular updates on websites will determine more frequent traffic and indexed faster by search engine spiders.

3.Generates discussion
Blogs, articles and news often receive comments from interested customers which in turn often creates discussion and user contribution on the website. Comments also become worthy as free content and are often indexed and ranked by search engines.

4. Solicits enquiries
Informative, articulate articles about business, products or services will promote readers to find out about services. This has been a tried and tested method of sales marketing.

5. Promotes community
Comments, inquires on any website encourages interaction between visitors and is often responsible for communities on websites. Visitors will keep coming back for discussion via the website.

6. Repeat visits
When a website has fresh, regular and remarkable content it encourages users to keep coming back. When a website is left inactive there will be no regular traffic.

7. Subscribers
Informative, appealing content on a website can promote subscription to updates via RSS. This makes sure that any new information will mean that potential people are immediately informed.

8. Internal link strength
Regular content will contain links to specific pages which in turn is beneficial to websites internal link strength.

This was the original post posted by Dinesh LG

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This is the part 2 in the series of finding new readers through social media.You can refer back to part 1 for more details.

6. Say thank you for shares
This will encourage your community to share your content more often and also shows the rest of your community that your content is share-worthy. To get the most bang for your buck on Twitter, consider re-tweeting their share with your thank you. That way your followers who missed your original share will have another opportunity to click on your link.

7. Use social sharing sites outside of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Consider building a presence on ‘bookmarking’ specialists Digg, StumbleUpon Delicious or Redditt. The key to any of these sites is that you have to be an active participant in the network to see any real traffic from it. Simply creating a profile will not suffice. You will need to build your community there, connect with people and share content outside of your own, often. Look for vertical specific sites where people in your industry are networking.

8. Come up with creative ways to re-share on Twitter
We all know that different people are on Twitter at any given time of day, so simply sharing your post once probably isn’t the most effective. Find ways to re-share it without just re-posting the same content. Add some sort of “in case you missed it” so that those who didn’t miss it don’t become annoyed. I’d also make sure you tweeted plenty of non-self
serving content in between.

9. Call people out
If your post includes someone in your industry or another brand, let them know. If it is favorable they are likely to share it with their social networks (or through their own blogs). You can add a trackback to their site so that they will get a pingback about your post, but also try the more direct route of just reaching out to them on their networks and sharing your post with them. Many businesses have installed automated social media monitoring services. If you mention a brand or business in your posts there is a better chance that it will show up on their dashboards if you can include their website, Twitter ID or Facebook page. Hopefully they will Tweet a link to the post or create a share to their ‘likes’ on Facebook.

In the end, there is no way to guarantee that each post you write will get a lot of social buzz or a lot of traffic, but you won’t find out if you wait for someone else to get the ball rolling. It is up to the blogger to offer shareable material, reach out to their networks and then encourage the community to share.

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This is the rewritten article published by Richard James originally.

So it's time for a redesign of your website, and you want to do it in a way that will cause the least disruption of service to your customers and will also maintain your brand identity.

There are a number of different reasons why a business may want to redesign their website. Often a company has grown so much that the original website design no longer serves the needs of their customers.

Or, the original website may have been thrown together hastily just to establish a website presence, like putting up a sign in front of your brick and mortar store. Now, the time has come to re-evaluate your website and see how well it's really serving and informing your customers, and how well it’s advertising your company’s brand.

When you are redesigning your website, don't rush. And don’t skimp.

You don't want to have to go back and keep tweaking things and adding that one element that you forgot, or taking out a bunch of elements that you now realize are distracting and irrelevant.

And you don't want to pay so little for your web design services that you end up with a poorly designed, hard to navigate website.

When you are getting ready to embark on a website redesign, make sure that you communicate your needs to the website designer. You will want to discuss the scope of the project, how many pages you will need, what type of information that you want to convey, what type of audience you will be speaking to - conservative, creative, younger, older, students, race car fans... this will have a huge impact on the look of your site.

You will want to decide if you are going to have a static website or if you are going to update it regularly with industry news or company news, and if so, who is going to do the updating - you or the web designer?

And finally, here are some factors to consider in your redesign, that you will want to discuss with the design company that you hire:

Do you need to completely change the look of your website? You may want to do so if your website is poorly designed and not pleasing to the eye, and if it does not contain any logos or color schemes that are consistent with your company's overall brand. If your company does use a logo and a specific color theme, and those are already in use on your site, at the very least you will want to have your web designer incorporate those into your new design.

How SEO friendly is your website? Many website designers use images where they could be using text. Search engines can not "read" images so important phrases that would help to make your site easier to find on the internet - say, "Colorado cosmetic dentists" - will be unreadable to the search engines. So make sure that you hire a website designer who understands search engine optimization as well as design.

Look over your current website to determine what works, what should be kept, and what needs to go. First, put yourself in the mind of a new potential customer who has never been to your website before and knows little or nothing about your services. Does the top portion of the home page, the first area that a potential customer sees, clearly communicate what your company does? The Jacoby and Myers website, for instance, says "Jacoby & Myers Law Offices" - and underneath that is the tagline, "America’s Most Familiar Law Firm". Potential new clients immediately know what services the company provides and they also know the company’s USP - unique selling proposition.

Now look at the website as if you were a regular customer returning to the site. Is it easy for your customer to find what they need? Is it easy for them to place a new order or contact customer service, or do they need to search for the links that will allow them to do so?

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The most awesome and informative post is only as good as the number of relevant people who see it. Promoting your content is a key element for blog success. If you share your content strategically it will keep your faithful readers returning often and can expand your audience exponentially. Here are a few best practices for getting shared and conversing through social media.

1. Write content that is share-worthy
No one is going to pass along a post that is mediocre. Make sure that you give your readers valuable news and/or perspectives. In short, give them content that they are proud to share and to be associated with.

2. Continuously grow your networks
The sad truth is that as your contacts grow their networks they may lose sight of you. In order to make sure that you always have fresh people paying attention go out and proactively follow/friend request new people who are interested in the content you are sharing.

3. Craft your update carefully -
Avoid cliche words and common sales-pitch terms. Also try alerting them to whom this content is for. People are busy and not everything you share is relevant to everyone.

4. Encourage comments
Posts with a lively comment trail are good for a number of reasons. From a social media perspective you are more likely to get shares from commenters who now feel a part of the post.Comments also confirm to all readers that the post is interesting and worth noting, making them feel better about sharing it with their own networks.

5. Spread out your shares and avoid syncing your networks
If you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, don’t syndicate your update across all sites. Chances are that you have people connected to you on more than one platform, and if they see the same content, presented in the same way, they are likely to see you as spammy. Instead craft an update that speaks to the nature of the platform and spread out your sharing across a few hour time-span. (Don’t wait too long though, because even the best
posts can become old fast).

The second part in this series will talk about the other techniques and practices to follow to attract more visitors to your blog.

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Here are some important SEO tips for bloggers to follow:
1. Focus on unique content only. Even if you are approached by a PR person with the “ready-made” press release or product review for you to “just copy and paste”, take a few minutes to retell the contents of the release with your own words and express your own opinion. This will make your blog voice stronger in the community, your style more recognizable by readers and your content more valuable for search bots. Remember, Google only values unique content!

2. Link to your previously published posts. Search bots discover and index your posts by following links. Thus, before publishing a post, make sure to drill down to your previously published articles, find relevant ones and link to them from within the new content. This will also encourage readers to browse to your older posts and motivate them to stay on your blog (Take advantage of “Related posts” and interlinking plugins to automated the process but don’t forget to link to your posts manually from within the post content as well).

3. Linking to posts on other blogs is another smart idea. Linking is the foundation of your online connections.Bloggers are always eager to know who links to them. They will most surely discover your track backs, go to your website, browse, comment… and also link back to you! So link generously and get discovered (Wordpress plugins like Zemanta and Arkayne could be a great help here as well).

4. Never link to suspicious sites. While linking in general is highly appreciated, linking to “bad neighborhoods” may get you into trouble. What is a “bad neighborhood”? Just a couple of months spent online will teach you. Those are various health- or gambling-related resources which are likely to send a spam email to your inbox. Be careful who you link to.

5. Make sure that your pages are lightweight. Google has started to incorporate the page load speed into its algorithm but that’s not the only reason to care about your page size. Neither people nor search bots will be able to go through your website in full if each page loads terribly slowly. Besides, taking care of your blog load speed isn’t that hard: choose a good reliable hosting provider, make sure your images and files you upload are less than 100K and install some caching plugin (especially if you have a lot of pages already).

SEO is about making your blog easy to go through, visible and useful enough so that even a search bot can understand your main points and find it usable enough to rank high in search results. At the same time you’ll be producing content that people can value and link to. You don’t need to pretend being good – you can achieve much more by actually being good.

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Blogging with Search Engines in Mind ----- Part 2


This part about discussing the Meta description and the URL structure.
2. Meta Description
Officially, the Meta Description is not taken into account for ranking websites. But it is used to generate the search snippet (a couple of lines you see below the linked part on the search results page). Meta description should thus be attention-grabbing and concise. They are a great opportunity to exert control on the text that searchers will see when your posts come up in queries.

3. URL Structure
Clear, “readable” URL structure will help with both the usability and SEO of your blog:
• URLs containing keywords will appear in search results (with keywords in bold).

• Search engines take keywords in the URL into account to rank web pages in search results.

What bloggers should know:
• Avoid very long URLs: no more than 3-5 words in your URL (for Wordpress bloggers: use “post slug” option to customize your URLs);

• Avoid uppercase in URLS: URL is case sensitive – meaning that if by any reason (your choice or CMS) you stick to a an upper-case version, remember that this can cause a few issues: people are most likely to link to the standard lower case one and you might both lose link juice and suffer from duplicate content issues.Worst case, interested users may get a 404-Page Not Found at the worst possible time.

• Avoid dates in URLs (unless your posts are time sensitive).

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Blogging with Search Engines in Mind ----- Part 1


Search Engine Optimization (commonly referred to as SEO) has its roots in efforts by webmasters to make their websites easy to access and crawl by search engines. The concept has been evolving into something much bigger and broader than simply making websites “crawlable” by the machines. SEO has started to cover usability issues, conversion tactics, backlink acquisition and more. Most SEO experts, including Google engineers, agree that the blog is an area that holds great leverage in all aspects of SEO.

Remember: search bots only “see” text and keywords, they are straightforward and, well, they are machines.Your primary task is to make your blog easy to understand and interpret even for those robots. Three basics:

• Create a clear navigation and naturally link to your old content and posts.

• Create natural keyword prominence: have your important words in the “prominent” places.

• Make your pages lightweight for people and bots to load easily.

SEO Terms that all bloggers should know:

1. Title Tag
The title of each post is of crucial importance. Not only will it grab your readers’ attention and prompt them to read further, the page title is also the most “prominent” place to showcase your important keywords:

• Title tags are displayed in search results (this is the linked part of Google search engine listing)

• Title tags are used by search bots to “understand” the main topic of the page

Make sure to create catchy and attention-grabbing titles AND include some post-specific details in them. Helpful details might include the product you are reviewing, the person you are interviewing, the place you are describing, or the market you are covering. These “details” can help to get your post to appear in relevant searches.

Some best practices and rules:
• All title tags throughout the site should be unique
• Title tags should be preferably no longer than 70 characters (including spaces)
• Page titles should be specific and contain your main keyword(s) – to help Googlebot understand what the page is about.

Part 2 of this series will be about discussing Meta description and URL structure.