Internet Business

Building free traffic to your internet business with a blog is one of the most basic ways to generate free traffic.

The first step to doing this is, of course, to set up your blog.

Sounds simple, and it is.  There are a few decisions to make about your blog so that you build the most traffic in the future.  Here are a few considerations:

  • What should the domain be called?
  • Should the blog go on the same domain as the internet business?
  • What blog software should be used?
  • When is the right time to start blogging?

I will answer all of these questions in this post.

What Should the Domain be Called?

The domain name is an important choice.  Some people thing about it too much, others don’t think about it enough.

You might be tempted to use the name of your business or something similar.  In many cases this is the wrong choice.

You want to to use the key words that people are likely to type in when searching for solutions to the problems that your business solves.

Remember, the purpose of your blog is to build traffic.  Having key words in your domain name help build traffic in a big way.  This is one of the few decisions that you can’t arbitrarily change later, at least not without starting over from square one.

When you choose a domain name, don’t be clever, be smart.

What Domain Should the Blog Go On?

Some people don’t think twice about this question.  They assume the blog should go on the same domain as their internet business.

You can do this but it is not the best way.

If you put your blog on a separate domain with nothing else on it, you are more likely to be successful in building traffic for your business.

What Blog Software Should be Used?

WordPress is the clear answer to this question.  It is the most popular blogging software on the internet, and with good reason.  It is easy to use, very flexible in every way you can imagine, and very powerful.

Oh, and it’s free.

When is the Right Time to Start Blogging?

Start blogging today.

The sooner you start blogging, the sooner you can start to build traffic.

Blogging does not produce instant results, so even if you don’t feel your business is ready for a lot of traffic, even if you are not quite sure what to write about, start writing anyhow.  You will be amazed at the results you get over time.

Starting a blog is a big internet business accelerator.

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Build Traffic with Blog Posts

by doug on 29 May, 2009

Build traffic – that’s what we all want.  It does take some work.

One of the best and easiest ways is to post to your blog on a regular basis.

How often?  Once a day is great at first when you need to get things going.  The more posts on your blog, the bigger and more active your website, and the better Google likes it.

One of the most important factors in building traffic to a website is how much Google likes it. 

Google has certain rules, known only to itself, that it uses to decide how important your website is, and how high key words leading to your website should rank.

Although the Google rules are not public, many people have notices what works and what does not work when it comes to getting traffic from search engine results.

Having a big and active website is very important.

You do not necessarily need to have long posts.  Even 250 words is enough, although longer posts don’t harm either.  Probably 250 to 500 words is ideal for both Google and your readers.

There are some important things to consider when writing posts for your blog, so you can generate more traffic:

  • Decide what your blog is about, and make most of your posts about that subject and that subject only.
  • Use key words related to that main subject in  your titles and in the body of your posts.
  • Do not over-use key words.  Google will ding you. 

Many of these guidelines apply to keeping your visitors interested once they arrive on your website.  Google’s goal is to provide relevant search results, and that means that a particular article is related to the website subject as a whole.  If your website is about business, and suddenly you have an article about gardening – not gardening as a business as in market gardens, but gardening as a hobby as in how to grow a few heads of lettuce, you are unlikely to get anyone finding you in Google about gardening or lettuce. 

Meanwhile, your business readers are likely to be confused about the gardening article, even if they are gardeners. 

The more focused your blog, the better.

This does not mean to say you can never go off-topic.  You can occasionally.  On the whole though, decide what your blog is about (i.e decide what your internet business is about) and stick to related subjects.

Educate your readers about your business.  Make it easier for them to understand your products, but not only from the point of view of you selling them.  That is not really what a blog is about.  Yes, you want your blog readers to become customers.  But you can’t sell them on your services in every sentence, not on a blog.

Educate them about your industry.  Think about the problems your customers have, and write about that.  Write about solutions to solve their problems, even solutions that won’t make a direct profit to you.

If you find writing about your business and your industry easy, then you are in the right area, and your internet business has one necessary component for success.

If you struggle to write about your business, then you may have to consider if you are really in the right industry. 

If you are not a writer, the above does not apply, not directly.  You should at least be able to talk about it.  you can talk to a writer and get them to write articles for your blog, based on what you tell them.

Do produce a steady stream of content for your blog.  Google and other search engines such as Yahoo and MSN will reward you with traffic.

Building traffic by writing on your blog regularly is an internet business accelerator.

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Building traffic to your internet business is critical to the success of any online project.

There are many ways to build traffic to you website.  Here are just a few:

  1. Set up a blog
  2. Post regularly to your blog
  3. Use article marketing
  4. Leave comments on other people’s blogs
  5. Leave comments on forums

There are many others, the above are some of my favourite traffic building methods.

Notice that they are all free.

You can also buy traffic, and I do that as well.  This is not really building traffic though, because when you stop paying, the traffic stops too.

The five methods listed above work for ever.

These methods have several advantages:

  • Free
  • Permanent
  • Easy
  • Builds credibility for your business
  • Builds a relationship with potential customers
  • Casts your traffic net far and wide

These free traffic-building methods also have disadvantages:

  • Hard work
  • Takes time to show results

The good news is that you can spread these activities over time, although this will slow results.  For maximum business acceleration, work through these methods as quickly as possible.

You can also hire people to help you.  For example, you can hire people to write articles for you.  Just be sure that they write at a level of quality that you can be proud of, what ever level that is, because when you hire writers, they become the voice (or at least once voice) of your company.

You should use faster methods to get traffic to your internet business website as well, especially in the beginning when building a blog and posting articles will do little to get traffic.  This is only a short term problem.

Putting a free traffic program into place is a great long term strategy, so start early and keep up the effort in building your blog and posting articles.

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Data Backup Organization

by doug on 27 May, 2009

Data backups  will run more smoothly if you organize your hard drive properly and back up accordingly.

Consider the different types of files you have on your hard drive.

There is your operating system.  Don’t touch that!

There are the programs installed on your  computer.  Not worth backing up, you can just reinstall them.

There are program setup files.  These could be worth backing up, but this is difficult.  Each program works in a different way.  They should all save such files in the users directory, but you can’t count on that.  Also, backing up the registry is risky, since improperly restoring this file could totally screw up your computer.

Let’s leave that one alone.

Then there are large and specialized files, such as audio, video and digital photographs.  You’ll certainly want original material backed up, especially if this is your livelihood or of high sentimental value.

There are downloaded files.  Yes, you could down load them again, but think of all the time it took to find them and organize them!  Could you even find some of them again?  It is probably worth having a copy of downloads, but maybe you don’t need the most current backup of such files.

There are the working files you use to run your business and your life: text documents, spreadsheets, databases, the working files that your specialized software generates as part of your work.

These, along with large media files connected with your work are the primary files you need to back up well and back up often.

It makes sense to organize your hard drive in a way that reflects these different types of files.

I have my hard drive organized into sections, with main directories on the C: drive for different categories of files, as outlined above.

Large files like video and audio, the time it takes to compress is large, and many of them are already compressed (e.g. mp3 files), so you don’t get much for all the effort trying to zip them up.

I keep these in separate directories, usually one for each type of file (video, audio and photos).  I then have separate subdirectories under that for files that I am currently  working on, and ones that are in their final state.

The reason for this is so that I can back up the final versions once, and the ones that change every day.  If you were to back up everything, your backup storage media would be very large.

Downloads go in their own directory.  These get copied to a similar directory on my backup hard drive every so often.  One way to do this is to rename the backup folder, copy the originally to the backup drive, then delete the renamed folder.  This way you have your previous backup to revert to if something goes wrong with the current backup process.

Smaller working files are in yet another folder.  This directory gets backed up daily (incremental backup), and monthly (full backup).  Really I should get in the habit of doing full backups on a weekly basis.  That will be the next step.

Different types of files need to be handled a little differently when it comes to backups.  The best way to do this is to create separate folders for each type of file, then further organize those folders according to your needs.

Proper backups are a major internet business accelerator.

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Incremental vs. Full Backups

There are two ways to back up data: incremental or full backups.

A full backup is a complete copy of every file on a hard drive or subdirectory.  This is the most complete backup.  If you ever need to restore data, you just copy the whole backup to the original location and you are done.

The disadvantages to full backups is that they take a long time to do and use up a lot of hard drive space.

Incremental backups copy only what was changed since the previous backup.  In other words, only new and changed files will be copied to the backup storage device.  These backups are fast and take relatively little space on the backup hard drive.

The disadvantages to incremental backups is that it is hard to do a full restore, and hard to find a specific file if you don’t know when it was last changed.

To do a full restore from incremental backups, you have to restore each incremental backup in the same order it was created.  Some files will be copied and recopied, but others may be in one of the backups just once.

A good compromise is to mix incremental and full backups.

Do a full backup at least once a month, and an incremental backup every day.  You don’t need to do incremental backups on the days when you do a full backup.

A full backup once a week might be better than doing it once a month.  This makes the restore quite easy: one full backup and up to 6 incremental backups to get all of your data back.

When to Do Backups

The best time to do a backup is at the end of the day.

There are a few reasons for this.

One reason is that if you do loose anything between backups, you are more likely to remember what you did today, than what you did yesterday.

Another reason is that your can run the backup every day at the end of the day.  Your computer can be backup up while you are off having dinner, sleeping etc.

It is possible but not practical to run a backup while working on your computer.  The reason it is not practical is two-fold: it slows down your computer, and the backup may try to copy a file you are working on, which usually prevents that file from being copied.

Doing regular backups is an internet business accelerator.  You’ll find out the next time your hard drive fails or you delete the wrong file.

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Data backup may seem annoying.  You should do it every day.  It feels like an irritating task that can wait until tomorrow, or next week …

Ask anyone who has had a hard drive crash or accidentally deleted data, and ask them how much time it took to get that data back.

I’ve had several hard drive crashes.  In some cases, I had backups.  In these cases, the crash was trivial: buy a new hard drive, copy the data from the backup to the replacement hard drive, and pick up where I left off.

In other cases, I didn’t have a proper backup.  These cases are incredibly painful and time-consuming. Some data is lost for ever.  Some data has to be recreated.  Some data can be painstakingly reconstructed from the crashed drive or other sources.

This is no fun.

Every so often, my backup schedule lapses.  For one reason or another I get out of the habit.

But then other people’s disaster’s remind me to get back with it.

It isn’t just hard drive failure that can destroy your data.  You can be your own worst enemy.

When I need to restore data from my backup, most often it is because I have accidentally deleted a file, or made changes I wish I hadn’t.

Again, this can be painful, but with a proper backup, the problem is trivial (no problem at all).

Where to Store Backups

Backups can most easily be stored on an external hard drive that plugs into a USB port.

Such hard drives are very cheap and convenient.

I suggest a 2.5” (laptop) hard drive because they don’t cost much more than 5.25” hard drives, and are very convenient.

The other question about backup storage is where to put the physical media.

You can leave it on your desk.  This is very convenient, and increases the chances that you will do your backups every day.

On the other hand, if you have a break-in or a natural disaster, the backup won’t help you if it is right next to your computer.

The other approach is off-site backups.  In this case, you have at least two external hard drives.  One is stored off-site (at home, at work, at a friend’s place, in a safe deposit box), the other is on your desk.  Every so often (the more often, the better), trade one hard drive for the other.

This way your freshest data will be near your computer, but the off-site backup won’t be far behind.

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Internet Business De-Commitment

by Doug Samuel on 13 May, 2009

Internet business de-commitment is the cure for over-commitment.

I’ve written about over-commitment in the past, and the importance of maintaining focus by working on few projects at a time – ideally just one.

What do you do if you are already over-committed? [click to continue…]

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Internet Business Over-Commitment

by Doug Samuel on 11 May, 2009

Internet business over-commitment is a common problem.

Over-commitment comes in two forms: too many features in a product (especially software), and too many projects on the go.

I’ve written before about the power of focus – this is a major internet business accelerator.

Despite your best efforts at focus, it is so easy to become diffused by finding another great opportunity you want to address, which turns into a new project.

[click to continue…]

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Internet business depends on selling, and selling depends on two things (assuming you have an audience to sell to): what you say (copy) and how visitors progress through your website as they consider and make purchases.

It is very easy to ignore this process when you design your website. 

To design a successful website, you have to imagine what is going through the minds of your visitors.

At each stage of the process, ask yourself what they are thinking:

[click to continue…]

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Internet Business Success and Focus

by doug on 7 May, 2009

Internet business success depends on focus.

Focus is the key to success in most areas.  If you are working on the internet, focus is even more important to practice, because there are so many distractions out there to send you off in the wrong direction, or (almost as bad) several right directions all at once.

Do you have about a million ideas that you want to work on, all at the same time?  If so, then you are well qualified to be an online entrepreneur!  We are all like that.

One thing that separates the successful entrepreneurs with a million good ideas, and those who fail, is that the successful entrepreneurs drop 999,999 ideas, and keep just one.

This is hard to do, but it is essential.  Take just one idea, get it up and running as quickly as possible, and see it through to completion.  Only then should you move on to the next idea.

[click to continue…]

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