Greg Magnus

AIM Custom Media Websites Blogs Glen Allen, VA 23059

Category: Web Tools (page 1 of 2)

Why organic SEO is a priority over PPC and other online ads

Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is considered a higher priority by most seasoned marketing pros when compared to pay-per-click (PPC) and other online ad programs, especially for branding campaigns. Here is one good reason why:

‘Heavy clickers’ distort online advertising 

The people clicking on your banner ads may not be the target audience you’re seeking, according to a new Starcom USA study. The study revealed that so-called “heavy clickers” are typically between the ages of 25 and 44, with a household income of under $40,000. They represent only 6% of the online population, but account for 50% of all display ad clicks.

Heavy clickers spend about four times more time online than non-heavy clickers….they aren’t necessarily brand loyal and often don’t even pay attention to the brand they are buying….

Source: BizReport.com, February 13, 2008 (Hat's off to the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce for including this piece in their email newsletter, "Business Intelligence Report," March 2008)

Assuming the above is correct, there is a tremendous amount of money being spent on 6% of the online population when you consider these recent reports published by Continue reading

Blogging for Dollars and New Business

Not many know it but, content management systems (CMS) are replacing websites and savvy website developers are using certain blog functions as both management and marketing tools. And, as we discuss frequently with business owners, CMS-driven websites are hands down one of the most cost-effective online marketing tools. In fact, many small business owners are generating enough revenue from their blogs that their "blog" is now their "business" (these fortunate few no longer have real jobs). How did they do this? Several ways but first let's take a look at a few blogging facts.

Citation from the Wall Street Journal,
New Services Help Bloggers Bring in Ad Revenue
by Kelly Spors:

If you're not making money off your blog, 2008 might be the year.

As more people see potential in earning money off the Internet, there is a quickly expanding array of advertising services and tools for bloggers that go well beyond the standard pay-per-click [PPC] text ads or display ads.

Many of the most widely used programs are adding features to allow users to customize the appearance and placement of ads on their sites. Some also are introducing newer money-making mediums such as audio and video. . . [You can read the full WSJ article here.]

What the WSJ article doesn't tell you is "all of the story." For example, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.com explains how difficult it was to build his business; and a little luck didn't hurt as he discusses here. I personally discovered Darren's blog well over a year ago. He does an excellent job but he admits his success is an anomaly. Let's face it, most business owners are not interested in becoming professional bloggers. However, this doesn't mean they can't use blog technology to market online, lower their annual website costs and improve their ROI. That's the real story but first let's get back to our discussion concerning how to generate blog revenue. Continue reading

Why Companies Are Moving Marketing Online The Emerging Trends

The amount of research supporting the effectiveness of online marketing is staggering yet many business owners are still unconvinced or just inadequately informed. If you are seriously looking for reasons to justify spending marketing dollars online, here are a few facts and trends to ponder:

Although most marketers allocate minuscule amounts of their budgets to their email efforts, the channel continues to deliver substantial returns on every dollar spent. According to the Direct Marketing Association, marketers spent $500 million on email in 2007 to capture an astronomical $23 billion in sales – yes, $23 billion in sales; that's not a typo.

The DMA forecasts:

  • During 2008 marketers will spend $600 million on email to drive $27 billion in sales; and
  • Email delivered $48.56 in sales for every dollar spent in 2007. A substantial return is also predicted for 2008; $45.65 for every dollar spent. More from the DMA is available here.)

The results are in. The success of online marketing is supported by reliable research reports and marketing pros have taken notice. In McKinsey's July 2007 global survey of marketers, more respondents used email than any other form of digital advertising. Some people still don't understand the value but those that do are moving online across the spectrum of marketing activities, from building awareness to after-sales service. They see online tools as an important and effective component of their marketing strategies

McKinsey survey of marketing executives reports that: Continue reading

Blog Revenue Program – Auction Ads Looks Good

Yet another way to make a few bucks on your blogs and websites; this one looks like a real winner. In affiliation with Text Link Ads and eBay, Auction Ads displays current eBay auctions on your site based on keywords you select. I rec'd this promo from them this morning (click on the image to see it in full size): 

Auction Ads

Editor's Note: I displayed the ad on my AMG Mercedes-Benz | Enthusiasts blog. The ad was placed in the sidebar for a little over a week. Unfortunately, there were only four clicks and no revenue. Therefore, I removed the ad due to its poor performance. Let me know if you try it and you get better results.

Unbox Video Downloads Announced by Amazon

The Amazon Associates program announced that Associates can now earn referral fees on Unbox Video Downloads (10 percent)! Amazon Unbox allows you and your site visitors to purchase or rent your favorite movies and TV shows to download and watch on your PC – all in DVD quality. High-quality video downloads are big and Amazon Associates can cash in on this trend. 

If you are interested in trying out Amazon Unbox for yourself, you can download a TV show for free with the purchase of any DVD from Amazon.com.

Associates are eligible to earn 10%, a full 1.5% above the highest earnings tier, on all Unbox referrals (up to $1.50 per item). There is no limit to the number of items on which referral fees are earned.Building links to Amazon Unbox downloads is no different than other products on Amazon.com. To build a Product Link, simply visit the Product Links page in Associates Central and select "Unbox Video Downloads" in the search menu. Check it out here

TOP 10 Picks for 2007 – Emerging Technologies

Desktop software that allows musicians to play in sync over the internet – as if they are in the same studio – is one of many emerging technologies demonstrated at DEMO 2007 this year. Head on over to Read/Write Web's post for their TOP 10 Picks From DEMO 2007. You won't be disappointed.

Sticky Notes for the Web, Awesome Firefox Plugin

eoecho.com | Sample MyStickies pageHave you ever wanted to add a sticky note to a web page? A reminder why you wanted to revisit the page or something you wanted to do with the info on the page? Thanks to one of the best Firefox add-ons available, now you can. 

MyStickies allows you to place little yellow squares of digital paper that look like sticky notes anywhere you feel like on the web. Along with the ability to put sticky notes on web pages MyStickies gives you the power to browse, search, sort, and edit your sticky notes from any computer. You can also create stand-alone pages of sticky notes. Goodbye to bookmarks and the old pen and paper!

Here's an excerpt from the MyStickies site:

MyStickies is like bookmarks on steroids. While bookmarks store the title of a webpage and its link, they do little to help you find what was important about the page and why exactly you chose to mark it. MyStickies solves this problem by giving you the power to mark up the page the way you like, and a tool to find notes easily and efficiently.

I'll definitely add this Firefox add-on to my "Top 10 Firefox Add-ons" page as soon as I get the chance. Enjoy! 

Top 10 Firefox Add-ons, Updated

We created a Top 10 Firefox Add-ons list based on the review of more than a dozen lists published by colleagues, friends, and website pros. Given the length of the content, we created a separate page for you. And, you will also find links to lists published by others for Firefox add-ons, plug-ins, and Firefox extensions. Here's the link to the full-page:

Choosing the best Firefox add-ons is becoming a personal preference given there are thousands available. Try a few of the add-ons and stick with the ones that enhance your surfing experience.

If you're not using Firefox as your web browser, you should. Most pro bloggers and website developers use it because of the enhanced features it offers. To download your free copy of Firefox go to this link.

[PLEASE NOTE: The info is published on a separate page because the content is too long for a blog post here. Please comment here if you would like to recommend an add-on of your own.]

Free Computer Classes Online at HP Learning Center

Mention Hewlett-Packard (HP) and we think of printers. Yes, HP sells office equipment. To increase their sales, and brand awareness, they now offer free computer classes online through the "HP Learning Center."

The HP classes are open to anyone interested in signing up. You can choose from a variety of subjects and software programs. Here's a sample list of the classes offered:

Software & Technology

  • Macromedia® Flash MX: beginning web animation
  • Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2003: introduction
  • Adobe® Illustrator CS: introduction
  • Building your first web page
  • CorelDRAW® 12: introduction
  • Microsoft® Access, Excel, Publisher, and Windows XP
  • Project management made simple, etc.

IT Professionals

  • Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003: building your solution
  • Managing your data center
  • Network attached storage basics
  • Firewall basics
  • Linux® 101, etc.

Business Skills

  • Search engines 101: using search engines to market your business
  • Digital photography and your business
  • Run your own direct mail campaign
  • Data disaster recovery: a practical guide, etc.

In-house Marketing

  • Adobe® Acrobat®: creating PDFs  CLASS FULL!
  • CorelDRAW® 12: introduction
  • Microsoft® Publisher 2003: advanced
  • Adobe® Illustrator CS: introduction
  • Design your own business documents
  • Digital photography and your business, etc.

Real Estate

  • Real estate marketing made easy
  • Connecting to the world with your Pocket PC
  • Microsoft® Excel® 2003, advanced part 2: charts and graphics
  • Digital photography and your business- Run your own direct mail campaign

The price is right and we can always benefit by enhancing our skills. Additional details are available by visiting HP's Free Online Computer Classes. If you have experience taking a computer class through the HP Learning Center, please let us know by leaving your comments. Thanks!

Common PPC Mistakes Web Marketers Make

If your using PPC (Pay Per Click) ads to boost your web traffic and sales, check out Igor's post over at his BizMord Search and Marketing Blog. His recommendations are specific and will increase your ROI in many cases:

17 Most Common PPC Mistakes Web Marketers Make–BizMord Search and Marketing Blog
As I manage quite a few PPC campaigns I always notice the silly and sometimes not so silly mistakes that advertisers make with their PPC programs. Mistakes when creating PPC ads, click fraud detection, and lack of testing are just a few of them. Fixing each of these mistakes could mean an extra 70% of revenue or a savings of thousands of dollars every month.

Skype to Charge For Calls in 2007

VIRGINIA, Dec. 13 – eoecho.com | PR News –  Beginning next month, SkypeOut calls (computer to non-PC phones) will no longer be free. The company announced today that they would start to charge an annual fee, but calls from PC to PC will still be free.

RATES

Unlimited calling costs just $29.95 per year. You'll receive the discounted rate of $14.95 if you purchase a plan before January 31, 2007. Users can pay 2.1 cents per minute without a plan. Don Albert, Skype’s general manager for North America, told The New York Times, “We see a willingness by consumers to make SkypeOut calls that are well priced.”

SkypeOut calls were free. Given VOIP companies such as Vonage charge about $25 per month, Skype will remain the best deal on the net. 

Hat tip to TechCrunch.com for alerting us to the change in Skype's service. 

Fried SPAM Cooks Up on Google, Yahoo, Ask and MSN

After reading a post on the developments of search technology at Read/Write web, I decided it was time to share a phrase I created with you, "Fried SPAM." It just seems appropriate to call websites Fried SPAM when they:

  1. Contain nothing but imported content (like the product SPAM itself), and
  2. They are saturated with fat ("in your face" Google and other network ads). 

Fried SPAM is cooked up far too frequently on Google, Yahoo, Ask, and MSN search results. Services such as digg.com and Wink.com will grow in popularity as social networking continues to evolve from "here I am" to "here's what I think."

Here's a bit of the Read/Write web post on searching Web 2.0, stop by their site and read the full post:

Search 2.0 – What's Next?

Written by Emre Sokullu and edited by Richard MacManus

You may feel relatively satisfied with the current search offerings of Google, Yahoo, Ask and MSN. Search today is undoubtedly much better than what it was in the second half of the 1990's. But Internet search is still in its infancy and there's much room for improvement. Moreover, the super high valuation of Google on NASDAQ pushes investors and researchers to find better search solutions – to be The Next Big Thing. And these wannabes are not only working on discovering better indexing techniques, they're exploring new horizons like vertical engines, meaning-based search, intent-driven search, new clustering methods, and much more. In this post, we look into latest trends in the search industry….

Approach Enhancements (Vertical Search)
Vertical search is a relatively new discipline in search. Basically, vertical engines look up a very limited subset of the internet – so they are more efficient than generic search engines. Because their search area is not so broad, they can adapt themselves for the specific needs and common points of their area of focus…..

Maybe someone should start a database of Fried SPAM sites, then offer a plugin for search engines that eliminates the URLs from the search results. Raise a few million and go for it!

 

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