User-Generated Content Can Hurt Site Image

User-generated content adds value to a site, but it comes with disadvantages for advertising and marketing as well.

User-generated content adds value to a site, but it comes with disadvantages for advertising and marketing as well.

crowd

The term user-generated content is popular among media sites and closely tied to the hyperlocal concept.

It is helpful to understand that user-generated content is not new or innovative, nor did it originate with Web sites, but it is an important part of any online operation.

Continue reading “User-Generated Content Can Hurt Site Image”

Content Marketing Examples: Home Depot and Lowe’s

Content marketing is a method for distributing online content that contains a direct and measurable benefit for the core business.

The starting point often is a business that obviously or subtly sells products or services via the content itself. That’s an important distinction to make because traditional and digital media businesses also distribute online content with direct and measurable benefits to themselves.

But in the case of media, the actual content does not contain the sales message. The advertising around the content does that job.

In other words, a newspaper article or TV clip about a crime or government action don’t contain sales material asking or suggesting that people buy advertising for that newspaper or TV station.

Instead, the most common way for media Web sites to acquire advertisers is through a sales staff that contacts current or prospective clients.

The two largest home improvement stores in America provide useful examples of how content marketing works to attract customers and sell products. Continue reading “Content Marketing Examples: Home Depot and Lowe’s”

Online Marketing Strategy – 3 Goals, 8 Tactics and 1 Solid Plan

“Online marketing strategy” is a popular phrase that often is used to describe ways of generating large amounts of traffic to a Web site.

In the business world, the words strategy and tactics are often used together and sometimes mixed together so tightly that the meaning of one is almost the same as the other.

Let’s take a shot at what online marketing strategy really means and how it can be used to grow a Web-based business. Continue reading “Online Marketing Strategy – 3 Goals, 8 Tactics and 1 Solid Plan”

High Quality Article Marketing Still Helps Search Engine Results

Article marketing for SEO is a tactic that helps improve search engine results for a Web site’s most important keywords if it’s done carefully and done on high-quality sites.

In simple terms, it’s the practice of writing an article about your site and putting it on another site.

The other site typically specializes in articles written specifically for promotional purposes. Three of the survivors are:

  1. HubPages.com
  2. EzineArticles.com
  3. GoArticles.com

Anyone interested in building site audience and search engine rankings to build their online business will go to one of these sites, sign up for an account and start writing.

Some of these sites require a minimum of 500 words per article, and some require much more. Continue reading “High Quality Article Marketing Still Helps Search Engine Results”

Increase Blog Traffic with Quality, Quantity and Frequency

Anyone can write anything on the Internet via blogging, but the writing matters only if people find the blog, think it’s interesting and come back for more.

Otherwise, it’s only writing as a hobby for yourself and not as a business for an audience.

Quality, quantity, frequency and distribution are four traits that divide unknown blogs from popular ones.

Let’s see what each trait means for blogging. Continue reading “Increase Blog Traffic with Quality, Quantity and Frequency”

Blogs and Forums Build Links — to a Point

Online CommunitiesA common promotional tactic among independent Web publishers and online marketing people is to post comments on other blogs and forums and add a link back to their own sites.

The tactic can teeter on a fine line between acceptable site promotion and spamming.

These site promoters will identify Web sites with blogs and forums that allow visitors to post comments and include back links.

Some of the comments are moderated, which allows that site manager to review the posting and either let it go live or reject it.

Sometimes the comments are not moderated, which means the comments go live immediately and in their original form.

Spammers take advantage of unmoderated sites to promote their products and services. Site managers are forced to go into their sites and remove the inappropriate and often irrelevant posts.

Responsible posters will provide an appropriate comment on the blog or post; the link back to their site will go to a site that is relevant to the subject being discussed.

Are Forum Backlinks Useful?

These responsible posters often debate the usefulness of this tactic. The value usually comes in two forms. The first is the people who click on the link back to their site.

The second is the backlink value that search engines place on the links, which ultimately helps boost the linked site in search engine results.

Copyblogger contributes a related point about building connections with other blogs and the people who visit them:

“So when you meaningfully participate in the community aspect of a blog, you’re creating meaningful relationships with people who can send you significant traffic — bloggers and other active social media users.”

Experience shows that whether it is worthwhile often depends on the relevance of the link, the uniqueness of the content and the usefulness of the comment. A post might produce a few clicks back to the poster’s site, dozens of them or none at all.

If the site uses the tag “rel=nofollow”, then search engines won’t follow the link at all, which negates any SEO value.

In that case, the value comes from anyone who clicks on the links. One way to decide if the traffic is worth the effort is by taking a hard look at analytics to see if the links are producing any results.

The odds are good that a few links will produce moderate results, while the great majority will produce very little.

The bottom line: Posting on other blogs and forums is worth doing as a tactic with a low level of effectiveness for most Web sites. But it’s best to follow the rules of those sites and make the posting valuable.

Spread Online Marketing Tasks, Knowledge Among Staff

Knowledge is money, especially in a small organization where one individual knows almost everything about a particular set of tasks such as online marketing.

The U.S. has 6 million businesses with at least one employee in addition to the owner, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Out of that total, about 60 percent have only one to four employees.

A small publishing company with a Web presence has little choice but to concentrate its marketing efforts in a small number of people. In many cases, it concentrates those efforts in one person.

But what if that person left the company? Continue reading “Spread Online Marketing Tasks, Knowledge Among Staff”