Monday, December 21, 2009

The Importance of Tracking Traffic to Your Website

There are so many people out there who believe that as long as they're getting traffic to their website, and they know they're getting traffic to their site, that it doesn't matter where the traffic is coming from. Those people are wrong. To be honest, if you're not tracking your traffic effectively, you could be losing thousands of dollars a month. How? Well, are you paying for Internet advertising of any kind? If so, do you know how much traffic is coming in from each ad? Perhaps there isn't any traffic coming in from any of your paid advertising which means no conversions, if so, why are you paying to advertise if you get nothing in return?

The interesting thing is that you may be getting the majority of your conversions through various sites that are ranking on the first page of search engines for your specified keywords. If this is the case, you are receiving thousands of dollars of free advertising; something any business should be ecstatic to get. I mean, really, what business doesn't like receiving free advertising, free traffic, and free conversions.


It's about time you stop paying for unnecessary adwords that aren't even bringing in any conversions. Keeping any kind of ad that you're not actually making any money off of is like pouring money down the drain. If an ad isn't converting, it's time to change it. Constant corrections and changes are a necessity when advertising online. So you're getting clicks, good for you, but if you're not getting conversions what's the point of paying for people to simply view your website?

Social Media and Articles

How much of your traffic is coming from social media sites and articles you have posted on the web? This is something to consider as you try to link it to ranking organically. What exactly are you doing to help your site rank? It's very important to track the percentage of conversions that are actually coming from social media and article marketing. If it's working for you and it's getting you ranked in search engines, keep at it.

Ranking in Search Engines

If your site is ranking high in search engines for your designated keywords, you may not even need paid advertising. In fact, you might be funneling thousands of dollars into pay per click ads that aren't actually converting. If this is the case, perhaps it's time to reassign your marketing budget and decide if search engine optimization should carry greater weight than pay per click advertising.

All in all, it's up to each individual company to decide what is going to work best for them. Assess the marketing goals of your company in order to discern if your current marketing strategy is helping you reach them. If it is, keep up the good work but continue to search for anything else you could do in order to make even more improvements. If it's not working at all for you, it's probably a good time to do a marketing overhaul.

For more information, please visit Thrive Learning Institute.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thrive Learning Institute Podcasts Help Students Learn

Press Release - For Immediate Release - December 7, 2009

Thrive Learning Institute Podcasts Help Students Learn

Students of the Thrive Learning Institute are getting fast-breaking tech news and up to the minute internet marketing advice via the "Audible Commerce" Podcast. The weekly half-hour audio show shares discussion of the latest in tech business.

The podcast often includes interviews with SEO gurus and other computer professionals. A recent episode featured discussion with a top Utah-based SEO firm. Their rep shared his insights into the value of inbound linking, and strategies to get those links.

"It's often difficult for our students, many of whom are still working out the building of a website or a blog, to understand the intricacies of the news in the tech world." Said Jim Young, "But that news can have a strong impact on their businesses." Recent tech news segments in the podcast have included commentary on Windows 7, and discussions of how mergers among the big companies can impact smaller mom-and-pop web shops.

The Audible Commerce Podcast resides within the Thrive Learning Institute's online learning center, recently updated to version 3.0. This update included not only a revised interface (completely reworked to facilitate access and learning), but a full revision of the curriculum as well. The podcast was added along with the new material, to give students an additional method of receiving the information. The podcast format also allows for discussion of more immediate and timely topics.

Jim Young continued, "The Audible Commerce podcast shows Thrive's committment to helping our students learn, no matter what background they bring to the table." He added that the podcast hosts are experts at taking complex technical issues and making them understandable to those without a deep tech background. Those that are more experienced in the computer world are still finding benefit by learning about the money-making applications.

Some of the more business-related topics that have been covered include the importance of branding in the long-term promotion of a website, as well as how having a secure computer can impact your business. How can having an obviously secure website impact your ability to convert visitors into buyers? How can having good keywords impact your search engine ranking?

For more information on how to access the Audible Commerce podcast, visit the Thrive Learning Institute's website,

Thrive Learning Institute
512 W 800 N
Orem UT, 84057

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Search Engine Optimization vs. Pay Per Click

There are a lot of people out there who are dumping more and more money into what some would call a lost cause. They are literally throwing money away, apparently with the idea that money is made to be lost. There is, however, an easier way, a way to multiply money instead of giving it up. In this article, I will be discussing the difference between search engine optimization and pay per click.

Okay, so the biggest difference should be inherently obvious to everyone, yep, you guessed it. Search engine optimization is free, whereas, pay per click uses that one little word that sends shivers up and down the spines of new business owners and seasoned veterans alike, “pay”. I suppose it's all well and good until you begin adding up all the costs of pay per click, it's then that your tongue swells and it all of a sudden becomes hard to speak, hard to breath. This is the point where you finally realize that you have actually lost $20 on the sale you just made on your small niche website; it's the point where you realize that your pay per click campaigns are eating giant holes in your profit. In fact, they're not just eating giant holes in it; they're devouring it, eliminating it all together.

You find yourself scrambling for a solution, a way to kill that ugly beast that continually eats without lamentation. You find the solution, could this really be? A way to get more traffic by paying nothing at all? After pinching your arm to wake yourself, you find that this is not a dream. The answer, search engine optimization. A way to give your site notice in search engines without spending a single red cent on it.

You know, there is a much easier way, get rid of the profit eating beast. Within months, you can actually be ranking on the first page of Search Engines. This happens if you're smart about things and build good quality links. Of course, you may have to lean on pay per click for long enough to get ranking on your own so that you don't lose traffic all together. Once you're ranking high in search engines, you may decide to get rid of pay per click, I would. You'll find that when this happens, your traffic will rise and so will your profit.

Give it a shot, it can't hurt, right? Get out there and do some research on Search Engine Optimization and Marketing. You may be surprised at some of the simple things one may do to help their site rank higher in search engines such as Google. You can start with working on the obvious things (ie. Your title and content) then you can move into some of the more intricate details of search engine optimization. For more information about search engine optimization, please read the Thrive Learning Institute Blog. And, trust me, it will be worth your effort to get very familiar with search engine optimization and how it can help you save expenses.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Marketing: Back to Basics for Small Business

Writing a business plan can be the most difficult element of business. Executing the business plan is also very difficult at times but writing it presents a myriad of challenges. It can take months to write a decent business plan, but don't loose patience. Then again, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If you're struggling writing a business plan, perhaps it's time to consult an expert.

This article will walk you through the sections of a business plan. After reading this, you should have a pretty good idea of what you need to do in order to get started on your plan. Doing research on and including these sections in your business plan, will help you formulate better decisions about your business and how to lay it out.

There are several sections every business plan should contain. These sections include: executive summary, company description, product/service description, market analysis, operations, web plan, management summary, critical risks, financial plan, and the appendix.

Executive Summary

The executive summary should be a summary of everything that is in the document as a whole. One should be able to read your executive summary and understand what each section of your business plan will cover.

Company Description

Your company description will describe the legalities of the company. It will also tell about how the company got started and its history.

Product/Service Description

What exactly are you selling? Describe the product or service you are putting out on the market. Make sure you describe the benefits which it has and how it is going to benefit your target consumer.

Market Analysis

Who is your target market? What is the demographic and psychographic of your customers? What needs are you fulfilling with your product or service?


How is this whole thing going to operate? What kind of management plan are you going to have? Create a calendar of how your plan will be implemented; make this trackable and fulfillable

Web Plan

This section is included if your company or service is online. Discuss any and all aspects of your business which are online.

Management Summary

This will show how your company is going to be organized and also tells about the management team such as who is on it, etc.

Critical Risks

Describe any risks which are in the area such as competition and environmental risks.

Financial Plan

Include any accounting information such as cash flow tables and information on your predicted profit and loss on a profit and loss sheet.


Include any sheets such as the complete financial results in this appendix and then site that it is there in the actual document.

You don't have to start writing a business plan in this specific order, in fact, I believe it will be easier not to. Simply use common sense and complete it in an order which makes sense to you.

Monday, November 30, 2009

How to Rank Even Higher in Search Engines

What are you missing?

Would you believe there is a very simple way to get you ranking higher in search engines such as Google, so long as you're not already following these guidelines. Simply include your keywords or keyword phrases in your title, meta information and, of course, in your content.


There are so many people out there who don't realize that simply including your target keywords in your title can actually make you rank much higher in search engines such as Google. It's been proven that those who have the specific keywords searched for, in their title, will actually come up much higher in the search engine rankings.

You can also include one keyword or more in the domain name; that should help immensely in bringing up your site in search engines. For example, if you search for “dropship directory” in Google, is the first result to pop up. It also has the title “Dropship Directory”. This goes to show that it really pays off to have your keywords you're trying to rank for in both your title and your domain.

To solidify the point I'm trying to make, check out the page rank of the two sites below Some would suspect that these two sites would have a lower page rank since they're ranked lower but you will find that these two sites actually have a higher page rank than Yet, do to the proper use of keywords, still ranks higher in Google.

Meta Information

There is also a lot to be said about meta information and increasing your rankings with Google. Optimize your meta tags, titles, and descriptions, being sure to use your keywords in all three. This should help boost your rankings in Google and other search engines.


As always, please be sure that your content is well optimized. This means that you should be writing about your keywords and including your keywords every one in twenty-five words or so. Doing this will help search engines pick out those particular words or phrases and will help rank your site even higher.

All in all, if you're not following these simple guidelines, you're giving up a lot of potential for ranking higher. I would suggest walking through these three things to get started, then you can read up on more ways to increase your chances of ranking on Google and other search engines. If you would like to know more about Internet marketing, you may read more on the Thrive Learning Institute Blog.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thrive Learning Institute, Making an Impact

Thrive Learning Institute is giving back, in a big way by supporting their local chapter of Golden K Kiwanis, an organization which serves the children of the world.

Employees of Thrive Learning Institute are proud to work for a company that cares so much about serving the community. In an effort to help fund local children's programs, Thrive Learning Institute teamed up with the Orem Owlz, their local team, and Kiwanis Club of Orem.

Thrive Learning Institute donated over $6,000 to benefit local children's programs. To learn more about how Thrive Learning Institute, Kiwanis, and the Orem Owlz work together to bring light into the eyes of local children please visit the Orem Owlz.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Building Public Relations Through Social Media

There are hundreds of places on the Internet that a company may submit their press releases or other public relations material. These sites have varying structures that they want you to follow; I would suggest going into the site, reading up on the way they would like the content to be submitted and then submitting the content accordingly.

Building a Social Media Image

There are several social media sites where a companies branding and reputation may be formed and solidified. Use these social media sites to your advantage, however, be aware that they can also be to your disadvantage. We will discuss some of the negative implications of web public relations later.

Facebook is a highly used social media site where millions of people go to share information about themselves and reconnect with friends, family, and old associates. Many businesses have now found their way to Facebook and are using it to share the word about their companies and products. I would suggest setting up a Facebook account and setting up a company profile, if you have not done so yet.

Blogger is a great site to set up a blog on. I fell in love with Blogger when I first entered the Internet marketing industry. Humanizing your company is almost always a great public relations move; you want your customers to realize that they are working with real people with real personality, just like them. It's okay to allow your companies “personality” to come out in your blog posts. Write according to the needs of your customers, answer their questions, relate to them on a personal level, and give them content that will help them learn and grow in their areas of interest.

WordPress is another great blog site. In fact, if you go to, you may set up a customized blog and feed it through your own website. I would suggest, for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes, having a Blogger Blog and a WordPress Blog. This will enable you to have a blog on your companies web site. It will also provide a way to get some extra links and content on your Blogger Blog. Since the WordPress Blog is directly connected to your company site; I would suggest being strict about using only company-related content. By company related content I mean anything related to the company, what the company sells, and what the company is about.

Twitter is another social media site which has exploded in the past year or two. It is also a site to share information with friends, family and associates and also provides a place for a profile. I would suggest setting up a Twitter account, filling out a profile for your company, and then start Tweeting like crazy. You can tweet about your blogs, your Facebook account, new articles, new improvements in the company, etc.

Marketing Implications

Be aware that, as with everything in business, there are negative implications to these practices along with the positive. The biggest one is that social media is viral. Being viral means that it spreads quickly and, once something is posted online, it's very hard to stop the inevitable process of viral marketing. While that is a positive thing if your content is good and reflects your company in a positive way, it can also be a very negative thing if your company is reflected in a negative way. Be very careful what you post on the Internet about your company and make certain to monitor what your competition or your opposition is saying about your company; the things they say are viral too.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Save Your Reputation, Reputation Management

There are some pretty funny elements of reputation management. Reputation management is much like customer service; you could use some of the same tactics used in good customer relations. You need a good reputation so you deliver good service, right? Well, everyone else wants their customers to be happy too, right? Take some advice, if you find an article effecting the “reputation” of your company and the content is not true, simply ask the site which is hosting the article to take that information off. Hosting sites don't want a bunch of libel lies spun all over the place any more than you do; it's a liability. Some sites will actually take off the post in its entirety.

I would go about it by reading up on the terms of service of the hosting site; find out if they have an anti-defamatory clause in the terms of service. If they do, all you really need to do is send them the post with all the untruths highlighted and ask that those sections be removed on the grounds that they are libel and defamatory to your company or to yourself. So you know, libel is simply the written form of defamation, slander is the spoken form. Under that scenario, assuming the content is truly an untruth, the hosting company should remove it immediately.

Now, this idea won't work for everyone or for every site but it really is worth a try. You may be surprised at how willing social media sites are to take down any content which goes against their terms of service. However, be aware that some hosting sites will post your email on their site, for all to see. Knowing this, please write respectfully and only the facts; doing this will help save the reputation of your company.

Another thing you can do to counteract getting a negative reputation is to follow through with your promises. If the statements that are against your company are true, perhaps it's time to re-think your customer service strategy or even your marketing strategy. Do you have a customer service department? Are your customers' voices being heard? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer; would you be happy, would you be content, or would you be irate with your company too? If even you would be unhappy, perhaps it truly is time to rethink the way you run things.

Also, watch out for those kamikaze customers who are out to get you simply because they have some sort of personal vendetta against you, as a company or as a person. They're so into ruining your reputation that some of them don't even care about their own reputation. These are the irate customers who don't even want to be heard by you, they want to make a name for themselves and, therefore, do not wish to discuss anything in a calm and rational manor.

If you're the customer, call the company you have a problem with and ask to speak to a customer service representative. Simply explain, in a calm and rational manner, what's going on. If you truly are in the right, most companies will hear you and then either make amends for the wrong or come to a compromise with you.

You see, companies and customers need to realize that there is a happy medium between “the customer is always right” and “the company is always right”. Sometimes it's okay to come to a compromise; neither side has to surrender everything, roll over and say uncle. Believe me, there are easier ways of doing things. Please realize that business matters are delicate and that being calm and rational will substantially increases your chance of solving the problem.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Amazon Affiliate - Domain Name Research

When you're planning on creating a niche website to make money from one of the biggest factors in how quickly you rank well for your chosen keyword is the domain name you choose. Its extremely important that you get your keyword in the domain name and that the domain name be,.org

There are a lot of questions and arguments out there about what is actually needed in a domain name and from my personal experience I'll just say that the best format for a domain name is "" instead of "" or "". It ALWAYS best to have your exact keyword as the domain, nothing more and nothing less. I've had great success by sticking to this practice.

There's also a lot of talk about domain names. Well to be honest you could get and you could rank with it however in my's aren't give as much authority as the other three ( Also when you get ready to sell your sites for a nice chunk of change having one of the other three will always help your sale.

My favorite way to quickly research my keywords for domain name availability is to use the free software, "Domain Name Analyzer. Please follow the link and check it out. It allows you to put in an unlimited number domain name possibilities and then choose which extensions to search for (an extension is The software makes this process go much faster and is much much easier than pounding everything out in GoDaddy.

Amazon Affiliates - Competition Research

Competition research is an essential part of doing thorough market research. When it comes to doing competition research for an amazon affiliate site you need to several things. First of all head over to Google and type in your keyword. Just below the search input field you'll see a number of competing pages often times in the millions.

What you need to do is put your keyword in quotes so that you only search web pages that are optimizing for that keyword on their site. This will make the number of competing pages drop dramatically. I usually shoot for keywords with less than 100,000 competing pages when I search for my keyword with quotes around it.

Next you want to do a search for how many pages are optimizing for your keyword in the title of their page as well. To do that type this into Google's search field. "allintitle:your keyword". By doing that you'll get a reading of how many web pages have your keyword in their title. I usually try to get keywords that have less than 20,000 competing pages with their keyword in the title.

After you've gotten past those two requirements for your keywords its time to check the top results for your keyword. If they're strong websites you'll want to avoid them and if they're weak you'll know you can rank well for that keyword. I recommend using the SEO for Firefox plugin by SEO Book to do my analysis of competing websites. This will allow you to see how many backlinks these sites have, what their PR is, how old they are and how many different sites are linking to them.

Mainly you want to look at how many backlinks there are to the page thats ranking. If its over 500 then you now have a target for how many backlinks you need to get. 500 can take a little while but its very doable. For me if find that my competing sites have 500 backlinks or less I get very excited and you should too. Thats a keyword you should be able to rank well for in 2-3 months.

Amazon Associates - Product Research

Product research is an incredibly important part of market research. In the context of building a successful Amazon affiliate website there are several things to watch out for when choosing a product to promote.

First of all the product should be expensive enough for you to make a decent commission on. The Amazon affiliate program offers an average of about 6% on sales so I would go for a price range of $100 or more so that you can make at least $6 per sale. However if you feel you can get a ton of sales for lower-priced products then by all means go for it.

Another factor you should take into account is the selection of products for your chosen keyword. For example I recently researched a keyword about hard drives that had a HUGE selection. However other keywords will have much lower selection like DJ Speakers (another niche I recently researched). So make sure you have a wide selection of relevant products you can promote in your niche.

You should also look at the product reviews of the products you'll be promoting. I wouldn't worry too much about the ratings of the products but more about whether or not they have ratings. They can be a great source of content for your site and can help drive sales if used properly. Also when your customers see those reviews they will more warmed up to buy instead of just going into the purchase with no input from other users.

The last thing you should check on for product research is if the products you're going to promote actually sell well online or not. The best place I've found to check that is eBay. All you have to do is login and check the completed listings for your niche. If there are a lot of sales within a small time frame (a day or two) then you know that a lot of people are willing to buy your niches products online. However if you find that those products only sell occasionally or there are a lot of listings that close without selling it may not be the best niche to build a website around.

In my experience as I've followed these basic guidelines Iv found numerous profitable products to promote with the Amazon Affiliate program.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Adwords for Beginners

To be honest, when I started out with Pay-per-click, I had no idea in the world what I was doing. I had a friend who did a lot with pay-per-click but it seems like every time I asked him about it, he simply told me that it's not that difficult. He would start jabbering on about this, that, and the other. At times, I wasn't even sure we were speaking the same language. I think he was getting frustrated trying to explain it to me and I was getting frustrated trying to understand him. Thank goodness for Google or I may never have figured it out. Turns out, Google has a whole bunch of videos to help you and actually walk you through Adwords.

I'll put it into three easy steps for you. People gave me these same three steps when I first started out, and I really wish I would have listened to them a little more.

Step one: Visit the Google Adwords Learning Center

Some people will tell you that it's pointless to go to this site and check out what Adwords has to say about their program, but I say, who better to teach you how to use Adwords than those who actually created it? Seriously, watching these videos could be a miracle for the Adwords beginner. In fact, even if you know nothing about it at all, they start out at the very beginning, you're covered.

Step two: Remember to do Your Research

Okay, so you've watched the videos and you feel pretty good about things. If you don't feel good about things after watching those videos, I would suggest that you do your research on any area that you're still confused about.

I did extra research anyway. I realized that I did all my research on the physiology of Adwords but I hadn't done much research on the psychology of Adwords. I started reading up on blogs and forums; any information I could get my hands on. I even had an eBook that a friend sent me to help me out in the process. I would pick at my friends knowledge now and then and eventually, I started to feel like I knew what was going on.

I guess I should also say that I really didn't know a lot until I actually started using Adwords

Step three: Actually Start Using Adwords

Yep, that's right, it's time to actually start using Adwords. Give it a try, just don't get too excited to start off with. I'll be honest, you're going to fail. Yeah, I got pretty discouraged when my friend said that to me, but it is pretty much inevitable that you will fail miserably on your first campaign in Adwords. Even professionals, who use Adwords a lot, struggle when they first start a new campaign. There's a lot of tweaking that must be done before your campaigns will start to be effective. The tweaking process is when the knowledge you have gained from your research of various sites will really become useful to you.

Good luck to you. If you need any additional help with online business techniques, please read other posts from our blog.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Keyword Research - Amazon Affiliate

The first step in this whole process is the keyword research phase. Without properly researched keywords you're entire venture will fall flat on its face, you'll get frustrated and give up calling the whole 'make money online' thing a scam. So. Lets get this right eh :)

For our keyword research were going to use a tool that Google makes available for free called, interestingly enough, the Keyword Tool. Our goal using this tool is to come up with a nice list of keywords that we can potentially build profitable websites around. In this phase we're not going for the one golden keyword, we're just compiling a big list of keywords that we'll qualify in the next few lessons.

Ok so we need to start brainstorming ideas to plug into the keyword tool. I like to go to eBay's categories to get ideas of niches that I can research because they cover just about every tangible product. So head over to eBay and plug in one of the categories.

I decided to go with "water sports" so I pasted that into the search field, entered the captcha and clicked on "get keyword ideas". Then it brings up a big table of data. I wont go into everything about the tool here, we just need to focus on a few things. Set your match type to "exact" and in the "choose columns to display" drop down menu make sure you're showing local searches and trends. Now sort the table by local searches from most to least.

Before we dig into these numbers we need to set some parameters to look for so were not completely lost and we can start building list of keywords that have an adequate amount of searches and hopefully an upward trend. I make sure the keywords I choose have at least 1000 searches (per month) and there are at least 3 words in the phrase.

We go with at least 1000 searches per month because any less than that simply wouldn't be worth it. You need enough people coming to your site so that you can make regular sales. We want to go with at least 3 words in the phrase because the longer key phrases will have less competition than one or two word keywords.

After doing a search for "water sports" and sorting by local, exact searches I only have 2 keywords over 1000 searches per month. "water sports" gets 27,100 searches which is a ton. I'm going to just pass on that because I know the competition will be very tough for that phrase because of the search count and the fact that's its only 2 words. However the second phrase "water sports equipment" has a lot more potential. with 1600 searches and 3 words it fits our parameters perfectly.

One more thing to look at is the trend. It looks like this keyword hits its peak in the summer which makes sense:) If you were looking to make quick sales this might not be the keyword for you but I'm going to keep it because it would be a good keyword to develop a site around in preparation for next summer. It will give me time to get it built up. I'm going to copy that and paste it into a spreadsheet for future research.

Now its just rinse and repeat. After you've compiled at least 20 keywords that fit those parameters go ahead and move on to the next lesson.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Market Reseach

Doing market research before starting a business is like having an accurate flight plan before you go on a trip. If you don't have anything planned out there are a whole slew of hazards that can endanger your flight, make it failure and take you somewhere you don't want to go. Imagine an eager young pilot who wants to get out and be free like the birds but who has no plan. He gets up in the air and immediately has a rush of adrenaline. He's away from civilization doing his own thing.

However that rush soon fades and He finds himself a little lost. He frantically searches for landmarks or cues that will show him where he is. Instead He decides to just keep going in the same direction because he figures he find some city or airport. Unfortunately His freedom is taken right back and he is a slave to his aircraft. He soon begins to run out of fuel and has to make a crash landing. If only he had made a flight plan he could have traveled somewhere exciting. Instead he was just thrilled to be up in the air.

So it is with business. Eager young entrepreneurs romanticize about owning their own business so they rush in and find out quickly enough that they're lost and too far invested to just stop. With a business if you're just winging it even if by some slim chance you turn a profit you will most certainly end up in a place you dont want to be. You may even need to make a crash landing by filing bankruptcy. If only you had made a flight plan. If only you had done thorough market research.

In this Course we're going to review the elements of market research as it pertains to creating and profiting from websites based on Amazons Associate program. With proper, in depth research you'll discover niches that will make you consistent money by selling Amazons products.

1. Keyword research
2. Product research
3. Competition research
4. Domain name research

Before we go in depth into the "how" and "what" of each element we will discuss the "WHY". Understanding why will give you the motivation and big picture perspective necessary to really make this course successful for you and will help you realize your personal financial goals. This is going to be specific stuff that will really help you in the long run and many of this can be applied to a lot of different business models as well.

1. Why Keyword Research?

Simple. People use search engines to find what they're looking for on the internet. Search engines use keywords to organize the results they deliver to their user. Some keywords are used more than others and therefore it would be very profitable to convince the search engine that you're worthy to be served up as a website for the higher volume keywords. Why keyword research? If you choose the wrong keywords you wont get any traffic to your website. And in this game traffic=money.

2. Why Product Research?

After some keyword research lets say you come across the keyword "chocolate candy bar". The next step would be to check out what products would be relevant. Obviously chocolate candy bars would be a good thing to sell if that was your chosen keyword, however people don't buy candy bars on the internet. Not only that but candy bars are very inexpensive so even if you were able to sell any each sale would amount to pennies. This is why you do product research. You need to find products that will pay well and that people will buy online.

3. Why Competition Research?

If you were to pit a mouse and a rottweiler against each other who would you bet on? The obvious choice is the dog. He far out matches the mouse. In one swing the dog could break the mouses neck. When you're just starting out you want to choose small niches where you'll be able to reasonably compete. Don't go after the electronics industry. You'll go up against behemoths like best buy, circuit city and Walmart. The more narrow your niche market the less competition there will be and because you're just starting out you'll want to go small.

4. Why Domain Name Research?

This is what your website will be known by. You want to make sure you can get a reputable domain extension and a reasonable keyword rich name. Doing proper research on potential domain names can dramatically effect how soon you start to see sales.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Top 5 Ways to Bring Disaster to Your Website

There are several mistakes made by Internet marketers all over the world. Some may see these mistakes as trivial but add up all the small mistakes and you have big problems.

Disastrous Design

One of my biggest pet peeves, when it comes to the Internet revolves around poorly designed websites. Have you ever gone to a site that looks like a rainbow it has so many colors or that looks like it's a newspaper because it has so much copy all over it? I look at sites like these and wonder how on Earth the owners are making any money off of them.

To avoid this mistake, if you know nothing about design, higher a web designer to build your website for you. I think you'll be very happy with the result, more sales. Do your research first, however, in order to make sure you're getting a website that will work well for your business needs.

Poor Product Presentation

Here's a kicker, product presentation, that will either make your site or break it. Here's a tip, when you're presenting a product to the public, you want it to be the best you have and you want to take pictures of it for your website that will show off all the wonderful amenities of the product in question.

I'll give you a poor example from my past experiences. When I was in college I was looking for an apartment for my friend and I to live in. I walked into one apartment that I will never ever forget. We walked in and low and behold right there on the floor, just inside the door, there was an ant hill. Now, you may imagine this as a small group of ants, no, it was seriously a pretty good sized pile of dirt, an actual ant hill inside the living room, right next to the kitchen. I remember thinking to myself, “if this is their model apartment and supposedly the best they have, I don't ever want to live here. So it is with your website and the way it looks. If you don't present your product in the best way you can, people are less likely to want to purchase it. In fact, they may tell their friends all about it and then they won't want to go to your site either.

Catastrophic Content

Your content says a lot about your company, your product, and your ability to run a business. Your content can have a very negative impact on the way your viewers see your site and what it stands for. Reversely, Some content can actually boomerang your site into more sales and better leads.

For example, do not fail to place some kind of privacy and security policy on your site for easy access to your customers. Having this will help give your potential customers confidence in your ability to keep their private information secure.

There are also things you can put on your site that will make your potential customers confidence diminish. This includes any content which is crude, inaccurate, and unorganized. These examples are only some of many factors.

Snail Speed

Loading speed is a huge factor in people buying your products or not. If a potential customer has to sit there and wait for your page to load, chances are they'll click away from it and go to one of your competitors. If your site isn't up and running effectively, do not pay to send extra traffic to it; if you do, you're pretty much throwing your money away at no benefit to you.

Reduced Recognition

It's very important to have good branding on your web page. Look at your own page, will potential customers know who you are and what your selling, above the fold? The part of the page above the fold is what a person sees when the page first loads before they scroll. In essence, it's the first real perception your potential customers will have on your company and your product.

Unless you're trying to have the worst web page ever, for your own sake, change your website if you need to in order to make it pleasing to the eye.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not all Links are Created Equal

Okay, first off you need to realize that not all links are created equal. This means that even if you have multiple links on forums, social media and article directories, someone else could get a more relevant link with a higher page rank that could be stronger than all your less authoritative links.


Let's be honest, you're not going to get a lot of link juice out of links from forum comments or posts. However, the time it takes and the difficulty of creating a link on a forum page is not very high. This means that you could do several forum links in the time it takes to create one more authoritative link. How does this all fit in together, well, it's anybody's guess how many non-authoritative links a person needs before they're at the same level as one link on an authoritative site with relevant data and a high page rank.

Guest Posts

Guest posts, you're getting warmer with these, a lot warmer. In fact, if you can get a site that Google terms a high authority site to allow you to write a guest post with a link in the content, you're doing pretty great. If this site is a PR 4 or 5 you should be excited, if it's a 6 or higher and it has relevant content to what you're posting about, you've pretty much hit the jackpot.

Are you wondering how hard it is to get a guest post? Well, let me paraphrase some advice given to me by a friend, “your chances go up significantly when you ask”. Meaning, I can't tell you what your chances are or exactly how to ask a person for a guest post, but I can tell you that if you don't try, your chances are pretty much zero.

Social Media

Social Media was my first love when it comes to link building. I got on this band wagon when it came through and thought it was the best thing in the world. Now-a-days, most social media site links aren't going to bring you a lot of link juice. To increase the worth of your links you should write optimized, authoritative content. Make sure that it's meaningful and lengthy enough to be deemed worth indexing.

Buy Links

The easy way out. If you have the money to do this and the sites are authoritative, have a high page rank, and are relevant to your content, do it! Don't be ashamed to do it; lots of people buy links, and there's nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, buying links can actually get you ranked in the top positions on Google a lot faster. A word to the wise, however, be very careful that you buy from credible sites.

These four examples are just four of hundreds of ways to build links to your site. Some are more simple than others and require very little maintenance, others require quite a bit of time and maintenance. You should also want to give, directory listings, social bookmarking, and other link building ideas a chance.

The moral of this post is...go for links on sites with high page ranks and use the other links to give you a little extra power.

Monday, November 2, 2009

5 Ways to Make Money Online, Your Gateway to Success

Small Niche Website

One of the best ways to make a little extra money online is to start up a small niche website. Doing this is pretty simple, all you really need to do is find a niche, build a website, find a supplier and go for it.

Finding a niche can be very time consuming and, depending on your skill level, could be a difficult task. I would suggest coming up with three ideas and then see if there are some keywords you can rank for under those ideas. I can almost guarantee that your first few keywords or ideas will not be very fruitful so you may need to repeat the keyword finding process multiple times.


Affiliate marketing is a great way to make a little extra money online. In fact, it's relatively easy to make a little extra cash. The amount you make from affiliate marketing probably depends on how much expertise you have in that area.

If you would like to sell products as an affiliate marketer, I would suggest visiting sites like Amazon and checking out their affiliate programs. It's a great way to be an affiliate for a certain product.

Selling on Auction Sites

Selling on auction sites like eBay and Amazon has got to be a classic way of making money online. There are many ways to make money on eBay and Amazon. For example, you could sell things that you find around the house that you don't need anymore or you could even drop ship on eBay or Amazon. However, it is sometimes difficult to find good drop ship companies that will allow you to sell their products on auction sites. Be careful and only sign contracts with those companies who will allow auction site sales.

Flipping Websites and Domain Names

Flipping websites and domain names can be very profitable if done correctly. Depending on the domain names in question and the amount of profit earned each year by the site; you could sell your flipped site for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Be aware, however, that not every site is going to bring this much money. In fact, there are websites for sale on right now for bids as low as twenty-five dollars.

Write an E-book

You could even write your own e-book about anything you're interested in and sell it through e-book directories. If you write about something you are really passionate about, perhaps it won't seem like work at all.

Please be aware that none of these five ways are guaranteed to make you a lot of money, business is all one big gamble.

Friday, October 30, 2009

4 Things ALL Articles Must Have

The importance of articles in today’s websites and internet based companies are immeasurable. They dictate a lot in the success and the drive of traffic into one’s site. It has become a key element in making a site work and earns a profit. A website operator and owner must have the good sense to include articles in his or her site that will work for them and earn them the many benefits articles can give to their site.

Articles have been known to be the driving force in driving traffic to a website. Articles are a factor in giving site high rankings in search result pages. The higher a site ranks the bigger slice of the traffic flow pie he gets. With a huge number in traffic flow, there are more profits and more potential for other income generating schemes as well.

But, it is not just about stuffing your site with articles; they have certain requirements as well. These requirements must be met to obtain the maximum benefits an article will provide for your site. A well written article will catch the eyes and interest of your customers and keep them coming back for more. They would also be able to recommend your site to others.

Here are some tips to help you and assist you in making your articles. Below you will read about four things all articles must have to make it successful and helpful in making your site a profit earning and traffic overflowing site.

• Keywords and Keyword Phrases.

An article must always be centered on the keywords and keyword phrases. As each website visitor goes to a site, there are those who are just merely browsing but actually looking for a specific something. When this happens, a searcher usually goes to a search engine and types in the keywords they are looking for (e.g. Toyota Camry, Meningitis, Tax Lawyer and Etcetera). It could be anything they want.

The Important thing is that you have an article that has the keywords that are related to your site. For example, if you maintain an auto parts site, you must be able t have articles about cars and their parts. There are many tools in the internet that provides service in helping a webmaster out in determining what keywords and keyword phrases are mostly sought out. You can use this tool to determine what keywords to use and write about.

• Keyword Density

Know that you have your keywords and keyword phrases, you must use them fully. An article must have good keyword density for a search engine to “feel” its presence. Articles should at least have ten to fifteen percent of keyword density in their content for search engines to rank a site high in their search results. Getting a high rank is what articles do best for a site.

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or keyword phrase is used on an article. The number varies depending on the number of words used in an article. An effective article must have a keyword density that is not too high or too low. With a very high density, the essence of the article is lost and may turn off a reader as well as the search engines. It comes off as overeager. A low number may be ignored by the search engines.

• Good Article Content

Like what is stated above, you cannot just riddle an article with keywords. They must also be regarded as good reading materials. Articles must be able to entertain people as well as provide good information and help for their needs. Articles should be written well with correct spelling and good grammar. If you want people to trust you, make your work good and well thought out.

People respond well to figures, facts and statistics. Try to get great information and as many facts as you can. A good and well written article will boost your reputation as an expert in your chosen field or topic. As more people believe in you. They will be able to trust you and your products.

• Linking Articles

And another important thing to remember. If you are going to submit articles to ezines and/or contribute your articles to newsletters and other sites, DON’T ever forget to include a link to your site. A little resource box with a brief description of your site and you should always be placed right after your articles that you have submitted. If people like your articles, they will most likely click on the link directing them to your site.

How to Get Started on eBay

Are you interested in using eBay to buy the products that you need or even sell items that you no longer want? If you are, you will need to create an eBay account, if you haven’t already done so. Although many automatically assume that getting started with eBay is a complicated task, it doesn’t have to be. All you really need to do is follow a few simple steps and you should be good to go.

The first thing that you will want to do is visit eBay’s website, which is located at Once you are at eBay’s website, you can then click on the link that allows you to register a new account. At that stage, you will be brought to a signup form. That signup form will ask you a series of questions. For instance, you will need to enter in your full name, your address, your telephone number, as well as an e-mail address. You will also be required to come up with an eBay screen name or sign in name, as well as an eBay password, which will be used to access your eBay account. Once you have correctly filled out the form, you will be sent a verification email from eBay.

Once you have received eBay’s verification email and followed all of the instructions, which will help you validate your eBay account, you will be able to start using eBay right away. When you first get started, you may need to sign in to your eBay account. As previously stated, you will need to use your eBay sign in name or screen name and password to do so. For that reason, you may want to write down your sign in information and keep it in a safe place. Once you have signed in to your eBay account, you can then do whatever you want; buy or sell.

If you are interested in using eBay to shop online, to buy, you will want to start searching for items to buy. This can be done a number of different ways. eBay allows you to browse through their large selection of items, by detailed categories. You can also perform a standard eBay search or an advanced one. Searches are more likely to give you accurate, tailored results. When browsing or searching for something in particular, you should be able to see a large number of auction listing all on one page. The information that you will be presented with at this time is the standard, bare minimum. If you would like more information on the item in question, such as how much shipping costs or too see additional pictures, you will want to click on the link to view the detailed sales page. Should you like what you see, follow the instructions to buy and you will have made your first purchase on eBay!

As it was previously stated, if you are interested in selling on eBay, to make a little bit of extra money, you can also do so. The only difference is that you are required to pay small fees to become an eBay seller, unlike eBay buyers who have completely free accounts. The amount of money that you are charged will all depend on your auctions, particularly how much you list each item for, as well as how well each item sells. To get started with selling, you will want to click on the “sell,” link at the top of the eBay webpage. What is nice about listing items for sale on eBay is it is relatively easy to do. For instance, you need to choose a category for your item, make a headline for your auction listing, write a description of your product, upload pictures of what you are selling, outline shipping costs, as well as accepted forms of payments, but everything is outlined for you, in a step-by-step matter.

Whether you are interested in becoming an eBay buyer or an eBay seller, you can do both, in as little as a few minutes. eBay, as previously mentioned, is considered one the most shopped at online marketplaces. For you, this means that if you are looking to make money on eBay, you should be able to do so and if you are interested in buying on eBay, you should be able to find millions of products to choose from.

A Day In The Life Of An Affiliate Marketer

Being in the affiliate marketing business is not that hard now with the internet at your disposable. It is much easier now compared to the days when people have to make use of the telephones and other mediums of information just to get the latest updates on the way their program is coming along.

So with technology at hand, and assuming that the affiliate is working from home, a day in his or her life would sound something like this…

Upon waking up and after having breakfast, the computer is turned on to check out new developments in the network. As far as the marketer is concerned there might be new things to update and statistics to keep track on.

The site design has to be revised. The marketer knows that a well-designed site can increase sign ups from visitors. It can also help in the affiliate’s conversion rates.

That done, it is time to submit the affiliate program to directories that lists affiliate programs. These directories are means to attract people in joining your affiliate program. A sure way of promoting the affiliate program.

Time to track down the sales you are getting from your affiliates fairly and accurately. There are phone orders and mails to track down. See if they are new clients checking the products out. Noting down the contact information that might be a viable source in the future.

There are lots of resources to sort out. Ads, banners, button ads and sample recommendations to give out because the marketer knows that this is one way of ensuring more sales. Best to stay visible and accessible too.

The affiliate marketer remembered that there are questions to answer from the visitors. This has to be done quickly. Nothing can turn off a customer than an unanswered email.

To prove that the affiliate is working effectively and efficiently, inquiries would have to be paid more attention on. Nobody wants to be ignored and customers are not always the most patient of all people. Quick answer that should appear professional yet friendly too.

In the process of doing all the necessities, the marketer is logged on to a chat room where he or she interacts with other affiliates and those under that same program. This is where they can discuss things on how to best promote their products.

There are things to be learned and it is a continuous process. Sharing tips and advices is a good way of showing support. There may be others out there wanting to join and may be enticed by the discussion that is going on. There is no harm in assuming what opportunities ahead.

The newsletters and ezines were updated days ago, so it is time for the affiliate marketer to see if there are some new things happening in the market. This will be written about in the marketer’s publication to be distributed to the old and new customers.

These same publications are also an important tool in keeping up to date with the newly introduced products. The marketer has put up a sale and promotion that customers may want to know about. Besides, they have to keep up with the deadline of these sales written in the publications.

It is that time to show some appreciation to those who have helped the marketer in the promotions and sale increase. Nothing like mentioning the persons, their sites and the process they have done that made everything worked.

Of course, this will be published in the newsletters. Among the more important information that have been written already.

The marketer still has time to write out recommendations to those who want credible sources for the products being promoted. There is also time to post some comments on how to be a successful affiliate marketer on a site where there are lots of wannabees.

Two objectives done at the same time. The marketer gets to promote the product as well as the program they are in. Who knows, someone may be inclined to join.

Time flies. Missed lunch but is quite contented with the tasks done. Bed time….

Ok, so this may not be all done in a day. But then, this gives you an idea of how an affiliate marketer, a dedicated one that is, spends the marketing day.

Is that success looming in the distance or what?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Finding Keywords and Keyword Ideas

Finding good keywords is not so much a difficult task as it is a time consuming one. As long as you are willing to give the time needed to find an appropriate niche product, you should be able to be very successful. In this post I will walk you through three easy steps you can take to get keywords that are right for you.

Step One: Uncovering Rare Gems

The first step of the process is to brainstorm multiple words or phrases (three to five) that have everything to do with your product niche. Once you have the ideas, open up the Google AdWords Keyword Research Tool and type your keywords in the appropriate box, then click on “get keyword ideas”. I like to click on “use synonyms” so I can get more keyword ideas that perhaps I hadn't thought of on my own. Who knows, you may just find a rare gem buried in a pile of ordinary words and phrases. Also, it's a good practice to click on “exact” in the match type drop down menu.

Once you've gone that far, make sure that the keywords you select get at least 1,000 searches per month. Also, if you're interested in making a living off of this particular product you will want to make sure that the keywords get a lot more searches per month. In fact, I would go for the highest amount of searches you can get out of a particular keyword or keyword phrase and still maintain fairly low levels of competition.

Step Two: Checking Out the Competition

Initially, you can check out the competition right there on the Google AdWords Keyword Tool by looking under the “advertiser competition” column. The less green you see in that little box, the better. Or, you can choose to actually get in there and check it out yourself. You can do this simply by going to Google Search and typing in your keyword or keyword phrase in quotations. If the keyword or keyword phrase has between 10 and 40 thousand results, you should be able to rank fairly easily in Google. The more results your keyword brings up, the harder it's going to be for you to rank in the first four positions on Google for those specific keywords and phrases.

Step Three: Using the Keywords

Now that you have some keywords, probably about three of them for your main page, you can start putting them into action. To do this, I would suggest using them in the titles of articles on your site as well as articles you use while marketing your site. You will also want to use them in your site title.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Signs of Stress and How to Cope

I don't think that people really understand what's going on when they get so stressed that they feel they can't stand it any longer. Work related stress is very serious and can be very detrimental to your health.

My Dad was under a lot of stress about three years ago; I don't think he even realized how big of a tole it was taking on his body. In fact, it got so bad that he ended up checking himself into a hospital which ended in him being flown by helicopter to a larger hospital. We were told to prepare for the worst. My heart sunk; I couldn't lose him, I simply couldn't. The doctor came out later to inform us that my Dad had a heart attack when he first got to the hospital and that they were doing everything they could for him. He also told us later that his heart attack had been caused by stress.

“Stress?” The thought didn't just come to me, it hit me like a load of bricks. “Could stress really be so powerful that it could take away my Dad?” From that moment on, I realized what a powerful enemy stress can be. My Dad survived and is still working for the same company but he is a lot more careful about managing his stress levels now.

Here are some things that could have helped my Dad that could very likely help you before it's too late.

Know when you've reached your limit

There's only so much stress that one person can handle. You need to pay attention so you know the warning signs your body gives you before you reach the limit. Stress comes to all of us in different ways. It could come as anxiety, shortness of breath, slurred speech, drowsiness, and fatigue, among many other signs of stress.

If you experience these symptoms for a prolonged period of time it has been suggested that you seek medical help. In some communities there are free stress management courses.

Stop stressing over things you have no control over

The human body has enough things to stress over without you having to give it more. My sister used to recite a poem to me every time I would get stressed out over something trivial that I really couldn't change. I'm not sure where it originated but she got it from a co-worker of hers many years ago. It reads:

For every worry under the sun,
there is a remedy or there is none.
If there is one, hurry and find it
if there is none, never mind it.

If you're stressing over things that aren't your responsibility or anything you don't have direct control over then STOP! You don't deserve to have to stress over everyone else's jobs and lives.

Time management, organize your work according to priorities

Organization and time management are often key to stress relief. There have been some days when I have made a list and then numbered the items according to priority. I then get to work taking on the tasks one by one until they are all crossed out and defeated.

Exercise Your Way Out of Stress

Have you ever had that urge to run and not stop for miles. For some people, running, playing sports or any other kind of physical exercise is a natural stress reliever. If you're in a condition to exercise I would suggest trying this. Even going for a walk in a safe neighborhood can help release stress.

Serve Someone Else

Look around you and find someone who has circumstances worse than your own or who is having a bad day (there's always going to be someone) and do something nice for them. Serving others has been proven to reduce personal stress levels. I have also read about people volunteering once a month with their family at a soup kitchen or something similar. There are always people around you who need to be served. All you have to do is look around.

I remember one particular day when I was over-stressed; I was reaching my limit and I could tell I was about to come to my wits end. Off to the side of the road was an older woman trying desperately to clean up some sticks and bark before the rain came. I'm not sure why I stopped, but I did. I started helping her and, as we raked, we began to talk. She managed to reduce my stress by helping me solve my problems. My stress seemed to be raked away with the rest of the debris which had accumulated in Beth's yard.

Try some of these techniques, they may save your life one day.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Internet Based Business Opportunities, Entering Foreign Markets

Business originated as bartering for this good or that, trading one service or good for another within a village. It then branched out to trading with neighboring villages and eventually with neighboring countries. That's how we have such things as chocolate, tobacco, silk, etc. Not a whole lot of advertising was taking place at the time, especially since these items were delicacies to foreign markets and were accepted with open arms.

Now we've developed into a global market place where commodities can be traded back and forth with companies across the world, all in a matter of moments. With the invention of the World Wide Web someone in the United States can buy a product from someone in China at the click of a mouse. Pretty cool huh, considering we started off using caravans of carts and horses taking extensive journeys to trade.

Thanks to technical advancements such as the Internet, we can now market to the entire world at the click of a mouse, well, to all those with an Internet connection that is. Don't think that you can get away without market research simply because you can market with a click of the mouse. That's where a lot of people go wrong; they think that everything should be able to be done in an instant. Cultural differences and government regulations are just a couple of the details that many forget about in their haste to start a business.

Identify Critical Cultural Differences

If you've never searched for funny cross-cultural differences, I think you should. If you're in the mood for a good laugh, this is one way you can get it. For example, when General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova to South America it wasn't selling very well. They quickly realized that “Nova”, in Spanish, means “it won't go”. The car was renamed and, big surprise, sales went up.

This example was mainly with brick and mortar establishments entering foreign markets but it really does apply to Internet business as well. Be weary of how you market things, what your slogans mean, what colors you use, and the entire atmosphere of the campaign.

Familiarize Yourself With Government Regulations

There are so many regulations to business in foreign countries that, in some cases, it's easier to hire a professional to figure out what you need to do. If you would like to go global, make sure that you are aware of the different government regulations surrounding imports and exports. Also, realize that in some countries, when you ship a product to the consumer, the product may end up sitting in customs for weeks waiting for someone to approve it. This is why it is imperative that you find out as much about shipping to/from a particular country as possible.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. You may also be interested in this article about Internet based business opportunities.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fake Amber Alerts, are People Abusing Social Media

Today I received a text message about an amber alert in my area. Of course I forwarded the message on to my friends; I wanted to help. I got a message back from a friend of mine saying that she had heard on a local news channel that the alert is a hoax and has spread all over the area; thousands of people have received the fake message via text, Twitter, Face Book, and various other social media sites. At first, I was a little mad, then disappointed, and then just plain curious. I was mad at myself for forwarding the message on before checking for accuracy, disappointed at the nincompoop who started the whole thing in the first place, and curious at the fact that the message had spread so fast over a one day period. So, the question now stands in my mind, has the boy cried wolf so many times that people are going to be desensitized when the real emergency needs to go viral across social media.

What happened to social media integrity?

Have you ever received one of those seemingly robotic messages through text, email, twitter, or other social media sites. In my opinion, those people are abusing social media. They act as though they aren't human and expect the rest of us to respond with smiling faces. Seriously, what ever happened to being human? Is the world so full of machines that we now feel the need to blend in with them instead of the other way around?

There are literally thousands of people who take advantage of the benefits of social media in order to scam others, to spread false information, or make their marketing efforts mechanical and machine-like. Yes, there are those who would take the positives right out of social media, causing the rest of us, those who use it for good, to be absolutely disgusted.

The right way to use social media

Getting Amber Alerts and other emergency information out via social media sites and text message is a brilliant idea but only if people don't abuse it. If the hoax had been a real alert, thousands of people across this state and other states would have been watching for the car in question. In the case of a true emergency social media can be and should be used to spread the word as fast as possible.

The right way to use social media for marketing purposes is to make sure that your intention is to help customers or inform the public of an additional service which your company now offers. No matter what, be sure to act personable, and really get across that you truly do care about the people you are sending the message to.

In short, please do not abuse the social media system, you're human, act like it. People want to know that they are seen as real people and they want to see you as a real person too.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Goal Setting, Stop Pushing Snooze | Thrive Learning Institute

This is for everyone who sleeps through life by continually pushing the snooze button. I'm sorry to be the one to have to be direct about this, but you're never going to be successful if all you do is dream about where you want to be in life. WAKE UP! Dreams are good and they really do come true but only if action is applied to the equation.

Thanks to Sir Issac Newton we know that the greater the force on an object, the greater the acceleration of that object. Meaning, if there is no force acting upon the object, the object isn't going to go anywhere. Likewise, if there is no force or action attributed to your dream, whatever it be, that dream is going to go absolutely nowhere.

Let's go through some simple actions you can take to add more force to your dreams so the acceleration is greater. Set specific and reachable goals for yourself, schedule a specific time that you will work on each goal and stay consistent, and always remember to follow through or you will go absolutely nowhere.

Set Specific and Reachable Goals

What are your goals? Are they realistic? Reevaluate your goals and sort them into two groups: short term, and long term. If your goal is not reachable, throw it out, like that box of junk you've had sitting in your closet for the past two years, you're better off without it.

Short term goals are goals that can be completed in a short period of time, an hour, a day, or a few weeks. Long term goals are completed over a longer period of time, a few months, a year, or even longer than a year. It is suggested that a goal setter also take the time to set several enabling goals to help them reach their long term goals. Enabling goals are groups of short term goals designed to help one reach a long term goal. For example, when I set my goal to graduate with my degree, I set several smaller, achievable goals like getting into the university I wanted to go to. It was these enabling goals that made my goal of graduating with a degree a reality.

For your sake please make sure that all the goals you set are reachable. This means that they are realistic. For example, I could set a goal to go to Mars but, in all reality, I know that's not very likely to happen given current circumstances. Seriously, if they're not realistic you may be better off not setting any at all. If goals are not reasonable, more often then not the goals will result in a disillusioned reality and therefore lead to unnecessary disappointment when they must be abandoned.

Schedule a Specific Time

For many of you your goal is to own your own brick and mortar establishment or get your web based business up and running. I would suggest, after setting specific goals in various categories (e.g., branding, construction, marketing) setting a specific time you can sit down and work on those specific goals. For example, if I set a specific goal to cook real food instead of microwavable meals I would set a time of day that I want to eat and block off that period as dinner preparation time. It may seem silly at first but, if you stick with it, it will work.

Follow Through

The third step, follow through, seems like it should be self explanatory but sadly, for many people, it is not. I set a goal years ago to work for a charitable organization that was able to make my friends life a little easier in his last weeks on this earth, I want to give back. I set enabling goals to get me to the long-term goal of being associated with this organization. I got good grades in high school and participated in various extracurricular activities so I could get into a good university, spoke to people who work for or work with this organization, gained experience in an internship with a related organization, and completed my degree in a related field. In short, I completed my enabling goals, but I kept pushing snooze on my long term goal. You may say to yourself, “why am I learning about goal setting from someone who got to the point of completion and then simply quit?” The answer, “I know what it's like to fall short of something that has been nearly a life-long goal of mine and I want you to learn from my mistakes”.

My goal is still reachable but it's getting more difficult to reach as time goes by. Take my advice please, do not lose track of your dreams and make sure you are exerting enough force to carry them through to completion.

For more information, please read similar posts by Thrive Learning Institute.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trust Guard: Build a Relationship of Trust With Your Clients

Trust Guard, a website specializing in verification and certification seals, is giving business owners an opportunity to build a relationship of trust with clients. Trust Guard has issued a challenge “increase your conversion rate or double your money back”. According to the Trust Guard Website “As soon as your customers see the Trust Guard Seal, they know that your website has been verified by a reliable third-party, and they can click on the Seal to instantly verify your credentials without leaving your site, giving them confidence to complete their purchase”.

The great thing about Trust Guard is that they offer a variety of high quality packages at a lower cost than their competitors. Plus, with the Trust Guard Challenge, Trust Guard has a double your money back guarantee if your conversion rate does not go up. That seems like a pretty great deal to me. In fact, a co-worker of mine was just in here talking about his friend who has recently doubled his conversion rate while using Trust Guard. Everyone in the office thinks that's pretty amazing, which is what inspired me to write this article.

The Trust Guard packages include: the Trust Guard Daily PCI Security Scanned Seal, the Trust Guard Quarterly PCI Security Verified Seal, The Trust Guard Security Verified Seal, the Trust Guard Business Verified Seal, and the Trust Guard Privacy Verified Seal. These seals will perform the following functions, among many others.

  • Protect you and your customers from hackers and attacks
  • Scan for 30,000 and counting known vulnerabilities
  • Verify your SSL certificate for customers
  • Review your websites secure checkout process
  • Verify your business information

For more information and functions of the Trust Guard Seals please visit the Trust Guard website.

Monday, September 21, 2009

More Than Just a Postage Stamp, Thrive Learning Institute

Why is it that everyone seems to think that there is a limit to how much one may accomplish. Who's to say how far one may go.

Ready for a funny analogy? I assume people can go farther than postage stamps. When I mail a letter, it can only go so far as the postage will allow. A large package with a two cent postage stamp on it would not make it very far and it would most likely return to its origin. For some, this is the way life is. We are labeled to only go so far and then we have to stop because we lack the necessary credentials to continue. Well, I don't recall seeing any postage stamps on me telling me when I have reached my limit; I assume I can keep going until I personally decide to quit. We can blame our disadvantaged circumstances or our pessimistic nature on anything we want but the truth of the matter is that we are the only ones who can say when we have reached our personal limit.

I can't even number the times someone has said to me “I can't do it”, “it's not possible”, “I can't win”. Well, sometimes I look at them and think, “you're absolutely right”. Perhaps that makes me seem a bit crass but in reality it's the truth. If you pollute your thoughts and mind by telling yourself that you are limited, that you can't do it, then you have failed before you ever tried. I can't seem to get people to understand that concept.

A few months ago I was speaking to a friend about a sports team he is on. Actually, he wasn't just on the team; he was the coach. He was telling me all about how they didn't even really have a chance and that the other team was better than they. Well, I looked at him, and told him that with his attitude he was going to discourage his team and eliminate any chance they had of winning.

Seriously, I strongly believe that this can be applied to education and business as well. If you constantly tell a student or employee that they cannot succeed, whether it be through your words or your actions, the chances are far greater that they will simply give up and quit trying. I don't think that we understand the implications that our words have on others.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thrive Learning Institute, Just Like Riding a Bike

I remember when I was a little kid, my Parents taught me how to ride a bike. It wasn't easy for them, I am sure, because I was so afraid of everything. I'm not really sure how they finally got me up on that thing and peddling down the road, I suppose it must be due to the abnormal amount of patience my Father and Mother have always had for me. I remember the day I finally learned. My Dad had taken me out to the street and ran behind me with his hand on the back of the seat. I was peddling and before I knew it, he had let go and I was riding on my own. All of a sudden I was afraid, and I started to wobble back and forth a bit. My parents gave me some encouragement and before I knew it, I was riding straight, on my own. The only problem was that I was not sure how to turn that thing around. That's another story.

Learning to run a business is much like learning to ride a bike. You have to learn how to be steady, how to stay up on your own, and how to turn to avoid obstacles before you can really get going on your own. It takes practice to get a business going, just like it takes practice to ride a bike with ease. It's not easy but once you learn and you get it down, you could ride as far as your legs will take you.

First off, if you are going to learn how to start a business, you better have a desire to do so. If your heart is not in it, you will probably fail miserably. Start off by answering these questions: what are my hobbies, what am I interested in, what are my resources, how much am I willing to sacrifice to get started? Then, take what you have learned from answering these questions and use them to help you find a product to sell and set up a business plan.

As part of your business plan you need to have a financial plan. How are you going to get the money to start your business? What strategies will you use to keep your business going? How much are you willing to go into debt in order to have a successful business? Answer these questions and meet with a qualified financial consultant before proceeding too far.

Please realize that starting your own business is no easy task, some things will fail and you'll fall down a lot in the process. Think of it this way, while you are learning to ride a bike what happens if you just quit if you fall down? You never succeed do you? If you're serious about starting a business, you won't give up because of a little spill. If one plan doesn't work very well, stand back up again, pick up your pride, and ride away with another business plan. Try again and again if you must and once you learn which strategy will work best for you, you'll be surprised to find out that you then have the ability to simply get on the bike and ride away whenever you want to.

I don't know that anyone has ever had it easy when it comes to learning how to ride a bike or run a business. There are always hazards you need to watch out for no matter how far along you are in the process. It's not about eliminating the things that get in your way, it's about steering around them, or simply avoiding them all together. Remember, there are several pitfalls that could overcome even the most practiced businessman. To avoid some of these pitfalls, remember to keep an open mind and to be willing to change your strategy when needed. You can do it; I know you can, and when you get going, maybe you can even learn to ride with no hands.

For more information about starting your own business, please visit Thrive Learning Institute at

Monday, September 14, 2009

Integrity...Pass it On, Thrive Learning Institute

What is Business Integrity?

When I was a little child I was taught that integrity is doing the right thing, even when nobody else is looking. It's something that is not open for debate, either you have it or you don't, there's no gray area. Henry Kravis once said “If you don't have integrity, you have nothing. You can't buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing”. So, in a sense, integrity is everything because, without it, you have nothing.

Is Integrity a Lost Cause?

So, do you think integrity is a lost cause? Sadly enough, there are people out there who believe it is. They think that the world is going downhill so fast that there is no stopping the decrease of ethics and integrity in business or otherwise. The thing that they don't realize is that it only takes one person to make a difference when it comes to business integrity and ethics.

When I was in College, the professor of my capstone class gave us each a quarter in a plastic case with a quote illustrating the integrity we had been taught all our lives and while we were attending the University. The quarter is to help us always remember a story he told us about a man who, when at an airport, saw an associate of his drop a quarter in a paper box and then proceed to remove one paper for each of his associates, including himself, without paying for them. The man who witnessed this returned to the paper box and proceeded to drop in a quarter for the paper his friend had intended to give him. The second man, witnessing this, returned to the paper box, thinking nobody was watching, and inserted a quarter for each paper he had taken out of the box for each of his associates.

Both men learned something that day. One learned the importance of integrity and the other learned that integrity is in deed not a lost cause.

How Do We Uphold Integrity In the Workplace?

Charles Caleb Colton once said, “Nothing more completely baffles one who is full of tricks and duplicity than straight forward and simple integrity in another”. Put simply, if you want to maintain integrity in business, you better have integrity yourself. Employees of Thrive Learning Institute value integrity and ethics in the work place. They know that upholding the integrity of the business world begins with one person and it grows from there. That one person is you.