10 November 2006

Website Income Generation Strategies

Here are some top business ideas for all webmasters and bloggers:

People always seem to be looking for the latest business ideas: if you have a home based business you are especially prey to mounds of email, each one claiming to have found the best way to make money online. There is nothing wrong with being innovative and trying new methods to generate online earnings. The problem comes up when people, seeking new methods, forget to pay attention to the proven methods of making money online. What has worked in the past for successful webmasters is still working today, and will likely continue to work into the foreseeable future. There are four main areas a webmaster must focus on to be successful, regardless of the type of website you run or the product or service that you sell.

Conversions are critical. You can get a million visitors to your site, but that means nothing if none of them make a purchase at your site. Conversions are calculated as the percentage of people that make a purchase at your site, compared to the number of total visitors.

The higher your conversion rate, the less traffic that you need to your site. Many webmasters struggle with getting that all-important traffic to their site. So instead of exclusively chasing traffic, also work on increasing the amount of traffic that you can convert into sales. There are a number of ways that you can do this with your online business.

Many webmasters understand that having a compelling sales letter, or sales pitch, is crucial. If you do not have the best possible sales letter, then you are losing potential customers. If you do not feel comfortable writing your own sales letter, consider hiring a copywriter to do it for you. You could also ask the copywriter to develop a few sales letters for your business, and you can do a comparitive analysis to see which ones bring the best conversion results for your business.

You can also improve your conversion ratio by paying attention to the layout of your web pages. There are a lot of different opinions on the best layouts for selling your products or services. For me there are a couple of easy ways to determine web page layouts.

The first thing that I consider is what I like and dislike about other websites. Is it hard to find the product on the page? Is the price hidden? Is a description of the product easy to find? Is the ordering information easy to find?

The other factor that I look at is what successful webmasters before me have done with their layout. There is no need to reinvent the wheel here. Instead of spending weeks trying to develop my own perfect layout, I will start with a template similar to those that are known for making high conversions.

Linking For Traffic Now that we have covered conversions, we can talk about linking for traffic. While your conversions may be very good, they will never reach 100%. So what this means is that the more of that precious traffic you get (at whatever conversion rate you are getting) will result in more sales and more money. It is known that the more links you have to your website, the more traffic that you will get. The links to your site are critical in driving traffic.

First of all, people click those links. I value a link from a high traffic website as much or more than a link from a high PageRank site, because actual humans are likely to be clicking the link to my website. I also place a very high value on having articles published in ezines and newsletters, because it always results in a nice boost in my website's traffic. The amount of traffic that comes as a result of having an article published in an ezine or newsletter will of course vary depending on the number of subscribers on the list.

A certain percentage of readers will always click the links that I have in a webpage or an ezine. And a certain percentage of those who visit my website will convert to sales. Having my link appear in some ezines or newsletters can literally translate to thousands or tens of thousands of visitors to my website in a single day!

If you utilize article distributions, you can often get your articles published on a variety of websites and ezines. These articles will have your link in the author box, and you will also have the opportunity to discuss your web site and the products or services that you offer in your author box. This being said, the more effort you put into writing a good article and author box, the more likely you are to get some traffic as a result.

Linking Popularity Building links for search engine placement purposes is just as important as linking for traffic. The more relevant back links that you have coming into your site, the higher your website will rank in the major search engines for your keywords. Back links are one of the best ways that you can get your online business to rank near the top of the search engines for your niche.

Be sure to use an anchor text on those links that is the same or similar to the keywords that you are targeting. Also, try to get those back links from relevant sites as much as possible. By this, I mean try to get those links from sites and webpages that have something in common with your site. A link from a webpage about bird watching will have little in common with your website about automobiles.

To illustrate the importance of back links, look at Digg.com. They have a whopping 131,000 back links, which is why they are one of the most popular social book marking sites on the Internet.

Link Baiting Link baiting is a great way to get those important back links, both for traffic and for link popularity. But, what is link baiting? It is when you have something so interesting / amusing / informative / useful that people will want to link to you, without you asking them to do so. Having something on your site that people will blog about, tell their friends about, or to send emails to their contacts about, is what constitutes link baiting. Your bait is so powerful that the fish will basically jump into the boat, without you ever needing to ask!

What kind of things work as link bait? This will depend a lot on the audience that you are trying to reach. In the SEO world, good link bait is placing free webmaster tools on your site. This means that people will bookmark the site; refer to it on forums, and possibly blog about what they learned by using your free webmaster tools.

If you are able to grow a reputation among your niche market as an expert, people will cite you and your website because of the quality information that you offer. If you run a humor site, people will forward the URL to their friends and tell them to check out a certain page.

Link baiting is also why social bookmarking is exploding in popularity. If you have an article that gets onto the front page of simpy via link baiting, you will have an explosion in traffic. The same can be said for all of the major social bookmarking sites.

Link baiting is all about offering something unique that people will want to tell their friends about and that they will want to talk about. Spend some serious time thinking about what you can offer to your customer base that will result in successful link baiting for your website.

In Conclusion If you spend your time focusing on these four ways to make money with your online business, you are sure to be well ahead of most of your competitors. Optimize your site for conversions, build links for traffic, create links for popularity, and dangle some link bait for others to share, and you will find your customer base beginning to grow, and you will see your sales will start to improve.

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by Trey Pennewell

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