Archive for the ‘plan of action’ Tag

Plan Your Internet Success – Part 13: Paid and Free Listings


13. Paid and Free Listings

Some people may tell you that it is worth listing yourself in the Yahoo! directory, Yellow Pages, or one of the directories that charge a fee for listing your Web site. I am frankly not a big fan of these directories, but I must admit that in some instances I’ve seen some good things coming out of a listing on the Yahoo! directory. As a result, this is the only fee directory that I always consider when listing a Web site. It’s not cheap at close to $300 per year, but it may be worth it for a new Web site.

As far as free listings, there is one directory that you must submit to and that is dmoz. Dmoz is managed by humans, who are supposed to review and select the best site within a category. Unfortunately, there have been reports of editors who give preferential treatment to their buddies at the expense of other sites that may be better suited for a given listing. I am not sure how widespread this is, but I still think that dmoz is one of the best listings you can get. Make sure that you find the right category and sub-category, since dmoz offers many and is a real maze when it comes to finding your way around.

As for the other free listings, there are hundreds of directories. Some are legitimate and offer some value. Some are not so legitimate; since they are designed to sell you something (they should not be confused with FFA (Free for All).

Regardless, these directories have their value and you can find services that offer to list your site to as many as 2500 or 3000 directories for as little as $50 or $60. The submissions are legitimate (I use such a service and receive very detailed submission reports), but the results vary greatly depending on time of submission, your placement when your Web site was submitted, etc.
Resources:

Listings on Paid Directories

http://dir.yahoo.com/ ($299)
http://botw.org/ ($99.95)
http://www.goguides.org ($69)
http://www.yellowpages.com/
http://www.business.com/
http://www.joeant.com/
http://www.jayde.com/ (also free listing)

Listings for All Other Directories: A Sample List

http://www.dmoz.org
http://www.femina.com
http://www.gogreece.com
http://www.worldhot.com/
http://www.123india.com
http://www.elib.org
http://www.ezilon.com
http://www.epooch.com
http://www.christiansunite.com
http://www.toronto1.biz
http://www.canadianeh.com
http://www.aardvark.co.za
http://www.nzs.com/
http://www.aigam.com
http://www.lii.org/pub/htdocs/home.htm
http://www.sacentral.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm

There are too many to list (around 3,000 as mentioned above), so if you need a referral or help with this, send me an email and I’ll give you a list or help you submit to those free directories.

To read the complete manuscript go to my website
jtouboul.com

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Plan Your Internet Success – Part 11: Social Media


11. Social Media

Social media and social bookmarking are relatively new phenomenon and are both very exciting ways in which to market yourself, your product or service, as well as your Web site. And while this is very hard to control and ignite, when people notice what you are offering and start sharing, social networks can work miracles.

To be successful in social media, spend a good amount of time writing, updating and maintaining your blogs and articles. I believe that you can almost never overdo it in social media and the most successful people (the ones who are noted the most) are prolific writers and spend a good deal of time doing this every day.

There is nothing that you cannot share, including things such as bookmarks that you like, ideas for cooking, dancing, having fun, getting deals, etc. Simply try to use whatever you come across in the context of your business without over doing it.  People can see through disingenuous offers.

Resources: Social Media

http://www.twitter.com

http://www.blogs.com

http://www.blogger.com

http://www.linkin.com

http://www.facebook.com

http://www.youtube.com

http://www.myspace.com

Resources: Social Bookmarking

http://del.icio.us/

http://www.digg.com/

http://www.blinklist.com/

http://ma.gnolia.com/

http://www.furl.net/

http://www.diigo.com/

http://www.complore.com/

http://gamingtags.com/

http://indiagram.com/index.php

http://www.goesby.com/

http://teachershare.org/openig/

http://www.chaamp.com/

http://www.a1-webmarks.com/

http://www.tektag.com/

http://www.bookmark.it/

http://www.wirefan.com/

http://www.linkatopia.com/

http://www.optimiz.us/

http://www.web20toolbar.com/

http://www.tallstreet.com/

Additional Resources: Social Media Profiles

http://www.meetup.com

http://www.tribe.com

http://www.ryze.com/

http://www.livejournal.com

http://www.linkedin.com/

http://www.friendster.com/

Make sure that you mention your site and give anecdotes, updates or write about events, news, new articles (see Write Articles for eZines and Blogs, below) every time you have the opportunity to do that.

If you would like to download the complete manuscript you can do this on my website at jtouboul.com

Plan Your Internet Success – Part 5 – Select a Domain Name


5. Select a Domain Name

The first thing you should understand with the selection of a domain name is that the most obvious ones have usually been taken.  As a result, try to be original and come up with something unique.  While domain names will have an impact on your business, it is more as a result of its identity and recognition than its description of what you do.  Take, for example, Amazon.com: would you associate this name with books and products being sold online?

With this in mind, don’t try to do too many things with your domain name, such as using keywords. I’ve come to the conclusion that so much is at play when it comes to SEO that the domain name plays a small role. However, a catchy name that is attractive, easy to spell and remember can be a great asset.

Here is an example of what not to do: I created a Web site titled “search-engine-optimization-professionals.com” that included all the keywords that I needed.  However, I quickly realized that this name was way too long and too complicated (Not to mention the “s” at the end and to cover myself; I selected two domain names one with the “s” at the end and one without the “s”). But no matter what I did, it was all pointless since many people did exactly the same thing (including keywords and “-“ in their domain names) and Google started penalizing Web sites with domain names including a “-“ in the body of the name.

Bottom line, find something that is easy to remember and spell.

Another thing that you may consider is the extension (.com, .net, .TV, .org, etc.).  I personally like to stay conservative in this area and usually go with the traditional “.com” and in some instances will also get “.net.”

Finally, as a personal preference, I do not recommend that people buy their domain name through their hosting company.

I personally use GoDaddy because I have many domains and GoDaddy offers a platform that enables me to manage my domains relatively easily.

The most important aspect of this platform is that it enables me to re-direct the DNS (also called Nameserver) very easily and, as a result, should I need to switch my ISP to do this very quickly and easily. There are no specific rules to follow when it comes to domain management and I do not endorse GoDaddy.

Resources:

www.godaddy.com

www.buydomains.com/

www.sedo.com

www.register.com

Regardless of what you decide for your domain name, keep in mind that a domain name costs less than $8 annually and if you hesitate between two domain names, buy both of them! Who knows, you may have some variations and testing them may indicate that one is doing better than the other because of the way it reads or sound, its spelling, etc.

A couple of years ago, someone suggested that I create a wine site and I went ahead and purchased a few domain names. I came up with what I thought would be an original idea and that was to target California wines and “personalize” these domain names.

I first got obvious names that were available, including http://www.mycaliforniawinery.com and http://www.buy-california-wine.com (yes, at the time the “-“ was still working).  However, I was not satisfied and created these personalized domain names that included the concept of “my corner” (domains names became mycaliforniawinecorner.com, myredwinecorner.com, mychardonnaycorner.com, etc.). I must have spent $80 as I tried to corner all wine types (cabernetcorner.com, sauvigoncorner.com, etc.), but by the end of the first year, nothing came of it and I had to abandon most of them. Sure it was a loss of $80, but it could have worked and it did for another concept that involved travel destinations. What I learned with the wine Web sites allowed me to do something that is generating revenues today.

In conclusion, I encourage people to play with domain names and experiment.  You may have five or even 10 misses, but it only takes one to more than pay for all the other ones.

Finally, keep in mind that if you want to brand a name, what I describe above, with many domain names exploiting one area of business, will not work. This approach is ideally suited for what is known as “mini sites” or what I call “Web site clusters” to try to catch as much traffic as possible using very targeted areas of a vertical.

Similar results may be achieved using sub-domains. For example, if you are using a domain name called “mydomain.com” with the URL “www.mydomain.com,” a sub-domain would read something like “product1.mydomain.com” or “service1.mydomain.com,” etc. This approach is not very SEO friendly but it is not terribly important, in my opinion, since natural searches have become so competitive today.

A good example for using a sub-domain is when you are trying to target geographic areas. For example, assuming that I would want to offer my services to potential clients in Chicago, I could create a sub-domain called chicago.jtouboul.com and create a completely customized page for that market. The difference between this and creating a Chicago folder within your Web site (for example http://www.jtouboul.com/chicago/) is that the sub domain becomes a domain within your main domain and is a top-level page, as opposed to including files one level down, and it has its advantages.

However, don’t worry about these details for now, since there are many options, and I suggest that you keep it simple. At a minimum, secure a few domains that you think will work for you.

You can also read the entire document “Plan Your Internet Success” on my web site at jtouboul.com

What About Business Plan and Funding


At this juncture some people ask me about creating a full business plan to get a complete “picture” of what is needed to succeed.  My approach is simple. If you plan (or need) to raise capital to launch your venture then, absolutely, you will need a full Business Plan (and, as a matter of fact, much more).

However if you want to launch a web venture that you will keep relatively small-scale until you see how it “respond” to your initial marketing campaign, then I do not recommend that you spend the time needed to develop a full-scale Business Plan.  After all a complete business plan will probably run 50-75 pages and will take considerable time and research to accomplish.

Is this something that you want to do at this early stage? Possibly, but I would not recommend it unless you absolutely need funds to launch your business, and considering the state of funding in this country today, you better have a very unique idea that will show revenues very quickly.

My approach is that unless you need very complex programing and marketing expenditures that will cost you a bundle spend your time focusing on creating a small-scale business and growing it until such time when it has some clients and some revenues.  Then your chances to succeed in raising capital will be greatly improved.  Trust me on that one, I’ve been trying to raise capital for a start-up for several months and even though I bring quite a bit of experience in this field it hasn’t help.  Bottom line is that, today, the climate is not good for an early stage ventures.  Investors are still hanging on to their money and want to see revenues before considering if they should invest or not.

Finally, creating a complete Business Plans and raising capital is something that I cover during the group and one-on-one sessions since these are very personal and very intensive processes that require a lot of attention and take quite a bit or research and time.

In conclusion I did not overlook full-blown Business Plans or Fund Raising.  Rather, in this manual, my only goal is to give entrepreneurs what I consider to be the absolute minimum they will need to do in order to insure their success on the Net.  And this starts by rolling your sleeves and getting down to proving your concept and make it work, be it a small scale one.

Coming up Saturday Part 5: Choose your Domain Name

You can also read the entire document “Plan Your Internet Success” on my web site at jtouboul.com

Plan Your Internet Success – Part 3 – Research Your Competition and Learn


3. Research your Competition and Learn

The best and easiest way to do this is search through Google, Bing, and Yahoo! or via directories for competitors using the keywords that you found. Take a look at the companies listed on the first two pages, including those found in the sponsor boxes. Review what they do well and not so well, including the “look and feel,” presentation, style, content, navigation, etc.  Make a checklist of what to do to improve or what not to do when you come across competitors that are not doing it right. Print out the pages of the ones that you find interesting and make notes that will help you remember why you liked the pages or what you did not like.

See how they rank by using services like Quantcast (http://www.quantcast.com/) to measure their success on the Net. If you are checking ranking with Alexa, be very careful since Alexa can be skewed very easily and may not reflect reality.

Another simple way to do this is to input the company’s URL on Google or Yahoo! and check the number of links they show; remember, the more, the better. Keep these links in mind for later and make a note of the sites that have the most. These Web sites may be businesses with which you may want to have your own links as you get established.

Resources: Search:

http://www.Google.com

http://www.Bing.com

http://www.Yahoo.com

Resources – Business:

http://www.hoovers.com/free/

http://www.ryze.com/postaddprocess.php

http://www.corptech.com/

http://www.digitallook.com/

http://online.wsj.com/public/page/news-small-business-marketing.html

Finally, never underestimate your competition, especially on the Internet. You have no idea what their resources may be and how well they can reach their target audience, no matter how trivial their copy, or how poor their Web site may look to you.

The complete manuscript is available at http://www.jtouboul.com