Brainstorming Ideas – Step One to Creating Your Own Website

In another article, " How to Create Your Own Website in Eight Easy Steps ", I gave you an outline on the steps I use to create my own websites and that of my clients. Within this article series I will go into more detail of each step.

Brainstorming & Researching Ideas to Find that Perfect Niche

This is a part I use to dread having to do. I would not know where to start and would always be second guessing myself on the niches I had chosen to pursue.

Thanks to a mentor of mine, I was taught how to brainstorm and research a better way that leads to finding that one perfect niche for me; which I'm going to share with you here.

Gathering Ideas

In my article that outlines the steps on how to create your own website, I mentioned that I jot down ideas on a piece of paper while searching through websites such as Google Hot Trends, Digg, StumbleUpon, or Technorati. In addition to those place I also use Bloglines to keep up to date with blog and news feeds I've subscribed to receive. I have subscriptions to blogs that are within the niche topic I'm interested in learning about or keeping on top of the news and industry of that niche.

When I'm not HOME I like to keep a small notebook with me at all times in order to capture ideas as they come to me. I could be grocery shopping, playing in the backyard with my son, enjoying a movie, taking in a flea market when I might see something or think of something that brings on a new idea for a niche. Having that small notebook with me helps to capture those ideas without the loss of losing them, and be able to go back to them when I want to find another niche. (It's also a great way to keep a note of things you want to remember, such as recording an appointment of time and date.)

Another gadget you might find useful is a small tape recorder, or even your phone if it has that option, to record your thoughts. This will allow you to play them back to write / type them elsewhere so they will be handy when you need that list.

Note: You never know when an idea might be a great one until you actually give it a whirl. Just write down those ideas without judging them.

Finding that Perfect Niche

The next step is to pick one of those ideas from your list and, with the help of the Wordtracker Gtrends tool, see if that idea is actually worth pursuing.

This tool by Wordtracker ( ) that utilizes Google Trends, allows you to see how much competition and how many searches in a given day a particular niche has. Preferably you would like to see less than 30,000 search results (this is your competition) within Google when you type on the niche you're researching, and and more than 250 searches by people for that niche phrase. These numbers are ideal because as anything higher will be harder to rank well within the search engines due to the amount of competition, and if there are not enough people searching for that niche phrase / topic you will not have traffic or very little traffic to your site. You'll know when you've found a great prospect in a niche when you see both line graphs showing green.

If you want to go further to make sure that people are making money within that niche, if that is your goal with creating your own website, then you might want to check to see if there are people selling products and / or within that niche. This is usually a good indication that people are making money and people are willing to buy.

"Pick What You Already Know"

Although picking a niche that you already know is great and highly recommended throughout the Internet Marketing world, you do not always have to do this. It's been suggested to me to pick a niche that I have some interest in and want to know more about, or even a niche that I have a passing interest in. You can always find information to write about through researching content online and your local library.

Going with the "Mainstream"

You might want to think twice about picking a niche that is extremely popular, as you'll have a better chance at coming out on top (if that is your goal) with a niche that is not so popular. Niche's you'll want to avoid network marketing, internet marketing, and health.

Now of course, if you're going to be creating a personal website none of this niche picking information will mean much to you and is best to be ignored.

In Conclusion

Finding a niche topic is extremely important when you want to learn how to create your own website . If you do not know the topic of your website's content, then really you have no reason to start a website in the first place. No content equals no website. Simple as that. No one wants to visit a "website" that is full of useless images and flashing banner ads.

When brainstorming niche ideas you want to have something, a notebook or tape recorder, with you at all times to capture those ideas. With the help of the Wordtracker Gtrends tool and your list of niche ideas, you'll be one step closer to creating your own website with having found its topic.

It’s Not What You Think

Have you heard the saying, “content is king?”
Well, of course, you have. But creating more content won’t necessarily get you more search traffic.
You’ve heard people like me mention stats like the average piece of content that ranks on page one of Google contains 1,890 words.

But that doesn’t mean writing in-depth content that is 1,890 words will automatically get you more search traffic. It just means that the average web page on page 1 contains that many words.
I bet you are going through the scenario below…
You keep writing content but, for some reason, you aren’t getting the amount of search traffic that you would like to be getting.
Don’t worry, I know what you are going through, and I will tell you the solution. But first, let’s go over how content marketing is changing.
Over 440 million blogs exist
The latest stat I could find on the web is that there are currently 440 million blogs.
But if you consider Medium and Tumblr (and other similar sites), that number is surely over a billion because just Tumblr alone has over 400 million blogs.
So, what does that mean for you?
Because there are so many blogs, it’s going to be hard to drive awareness.
There are roughly 7.5 billion people on this earth and the number of blogs is growing faster than the population. So, if you assume there are roughly 1 billion blogs, that means there is one blog for every 7 and a half people.
That’s way too many blogs!
So why should someone read yours instead of the others?
Why doesn’t content marketing work as well as it used to?
Because there are so many blogs, you have tons of competition.
Whatever you are thinking of blogging about, the chances are there is already someone (or tons of people!) already blogging about it. Seriously!
Even if you are planning to write about news and current events, the chances are some other blog is going to beat you to the story… even if it is by an hour (or a few minutes).
With there only being so many popular keywords that people search for, there are now more websites competing to reach the top of the rankings.
Currently, Ubersuggest is tracking 619,718,788 keywords globally. During the last 30 days, only 24,593,402 of them generated over 10,000 searches.
And no matter what popular term you are going after, you are going to have a lot of competition.
For example, I rank on page 1 for the term “SEO” (at least in the United States). But I am competing with a lot of sites… 581 million to be exact!

If you want to go after one of those 24,593,402 keywords, you are going to face a lot of competition.
Sure, you can also get a lot of traffic from long-tail phrases, but even those are getting more competitive over time.
How does your content strategy need to change?
As I mentioned above, whatever you are writing about, chances are someone is already writing about it.
When I started my first blog, Pronet Advertising (which no longer exists), the first post I wrote was called, “Winning the Search Engine Marketing War.” It was 412 words long, contained no images, and no had links. But that was way back in 2005 and content marketing was much different back then.
If I published it today, it would do terrible. Back then I didn’t have a personal brand, no one knew who I was, and the post still did pretty well.
Heck, the standard social channels like Facebook weren’t even being used by marketers.
Do you want to know why it did well? Because it was new.
Back then, people never read a post about winning the search engine marketing war. It was fresh and people wanted to know more. The fact that it was short didn’t matter.
Now, when you publish new content, there is a good chance that people have already read something similar. Because of that, why would they want to link to your piece or even share it?
Even worse, only 8 out of 10 people read headlines but only 2 out of 10 will click through. That means people feel your content isn’t interesting or that they already know a lot about the subject matter of your content.
In other words, if you don’t write something new and amazing, it won’t do well.
It doesn’t matter if you made your content 1,890 words, bought some social shares, or weaseled your way into a few backlinks… no one will care if it isn’t something original and unique.
Just look at the search phrase “SEO tips.” There are 3,630,000 web pages competing for that term.

And almost everyone who ranks for that term is writing about the same old stuff. The only difference is how many tips they are including in their article.

How do you write new content that’s fresh?
You need to share life experiences. Your life is unique. If you can tie your personal experiences into your content, you’ll do much better.
If I look at my most popular posts on over the last 12 months, here they are in order:
Do you notice a pattern?
They aren’t generic posts like “10 ways to double your search traffic” or “how to rank on Google”… each post contains something new… which you already know.
But what else?
If you look at all of those posts, I wrote them more recently.
They don’t rank as high on Google compared to some of the posts I wrote earlier this year (or in previous years), yet they are still the most popular ones because they are unique.
Whether it is data that people haven’t seen before or something based on a personal experience that people can learn from, the articles that are unique and can only be written by you will perform the best.
In other words, you have to be original to get loved. Not just by Google, but by people.
So how do you write unique content that contains data and has personalized stories?
Here are some ideas:
If you put in a keyword related to your industry, it will show you all of the popular posts.

Avoid writing another “copycat” article. If you have a unique perspective on any one of those topics and it is something that the industry hasn’t seen, there is a good chance it will do well.
But it can’t be another copycat article that talks about the same old things that have been talked about a thousand times before.
My favorite part about Buzzsumo is that it will show you what’s popular during certain time frames.
You can adjust your search to the last month, year, 5 years, or any time range to see how people’s preferences have changed over time.

By using this feature, you will get a better understanding of where the market is moving and how you need to adapt.
Google Trends
This simple tool shows you what’s hot right now. Literally at this very second.

You can even filter the real-time trends per industry.

Or you can see what’s been popular for the day as well as the number of searches performed.

And, of course, you can use Google Trends for any country. The above screenshots are for the United States.
If you have a unique perspective on any of these trends or data, you should consider riding the wave and creating a blog post as soon as possible.
Beware, a lot of people use this tactic and the majority of the traffic will be taken up by popular news sites. But if you have a personal experience or data related to the trend or topic then you can do really well.
If you already have some readers, the easiest way to come up with unique topic ideas that they will love is to just ask them for advice.
For example, why not create a free survey using SurveyMonkey and ask your readers questions like “what would you like me to blog about” or “what would you like to learn” or “what’s the biggest problem I can help you solve?”
Asking questions like these ones should give you great ideas.
When surveying, make sure you get over 30 responses. The more the better because you can use their text analysis feature to see what the majority of your readers are interested in.

Problogger Job Board
If you are interested in using data and research within your posts to make them unique, consider hiring someone from the Problogger Job Board.
That’s what I do.
If you already have data, you can find someone on Problogger to help crunch everything and give you golden nuggets for your post.
Or if you don’t, they can gather research from all over the web and come up with something unique.
I found some researchers that are amazing at what they do. They hit up the tool companies within my space, ask them for data, and then come up with interesting insights that deliver value to my readers.
In exchange, the tool companies get free press, which helps them and, in most cases, they will also share and promote your post.
A good example of this is the post I wrote on Hummingbird. It has a ton of unique data points, and I mentioned the companies that helped me gather the data.
But other people have generic content and do well…
Yes, there are tons of blogs with generic content that rank well. But here is the thing, their content is either old, in which they were one of the firsts to cover the topic, or they have high authority.
When high authority sites like Huffington Post and Entrepreneur write generic content, it ranks because they already have lots of brand queries, backlinks, and social shares.
If you have over 20,000 brand queries per month (you can see how many you have in Google Search Console)…

…and you have also have a domain authority of over 60, you’ll see some results if you write generic content.
I still don’t recommend going the generic route (a lesson I have learned from my own personal experience), but if that’s what you want then make sure you at least meet those rough guidelines.
At least that is what I found you need for the most competitive industries going after the English market.
If you don’t have the authority or any brand queries, you can still do well with generic “copycat” content, but you would have to focus on international regions.
There is way too much content for Google to choose from in English. But that’s not the case in Hindi or Portuguese.
If you are open to expanding internationally, follow the tips in this post as it will help you pick the right regions to tackle first.
I hope I didn’t discourage you from leveraging content marketing. It’s still an amazing tactic that has helped me generate 1,864,246 unique visitors a month.

Sure, I’ve been doing this for some years now, but is one of the newer search blogs compared to sites like Moz or Search Engine Land yet I was still able to do well. This is especially true over the last year where I saw most of my growth.
And the big strategy I shifted towards was to start writing personalized content… content that contains my life experiences and stories that can’t be copied or created anywhere else.
Even if you are new to your industry, you can still reference other people’s experiences or tie in lessons you learned from your past as some of those things are still relevant today.
If you can’t do that, resort to using data. People love reading about new trends and strategies as long as you have new data to back up your claims.
So, are you going to write fresh, new content versus regurgitating the same old information again?

web design

Website Design

web design myrtle beach

Free E-Commerce Website Using Google Sites and PayPal

I started off with the goal of making a website that has no on going costs, minimal transaction fees and low maintenance. The choice of having all features integrated into the one website? or do I manage the website and let a third party do the financial transactions? security is a key to answering this question, a third party will be my option. Firstly I did allot of research into free web hosting solutions, benefits, security and 100% uptime. The list got down to a few, I tested them and decided on Google sites which ticked all the boxes. The main disadvantage is also an advantage, it locks down allot of code, making it harder to implement heaps of features but increases security immensely.

I have decided on my web hosting, now look at payment systems. The customer would have to be redirected to a secure website, the data passed between my website and the shopping cart had to be minimal as this can be hijacked or changed. I looked at allot of cool Java and php based shopping carts but in the end, all still sent across code that could easily be changed by someone smart enough. PayPal and Google Checkout are the main players, being in a Australia, Google Checkout was ruled out so I worked with PayPal.

Google sites is very easy use, first you give the website a name, choose a template and play around with the formatting a bit. Add a picture of the item you want to sell, then put it in the back of your mind for a bit, we now head over to PayPal.

Create yourself a PayPal account and change the account type to Business at PayPal gives you the option of making pre-made buttons that are attached to your account and because no dollar amount or numbers of items passes between the sites, it is very secure.

Creating a PayPal Button:

Profile >> My Saved Buttons >> Create New Button

Select Yes; create an “Add to Cart” button.

Give the item a name, if you have multiple of the same items, include an item number.

Choose a price

Additional Options:

Postage Weight or Postage cost for that item.

Track Inventory, PayPal can stop people purchasing items if you run out of stock.

Once the button has been created, select the tab e-mail, copy the code and keep this for later.

Go back to your Google sites web page and add an image that your going to use as the “add to cart” button. This can be the one provided earlier by PayPal or you can choose to make your own image. Make sure you happy with the size, Google sites gives you the option of small, medium or large, but if you want something different, it can be changed in the HTML code option.

select the image, then click up the top on the link button. This is where you link your button to the PayPal, choose link to external website and paste in the PayPal link you kept from earlier.

My finished result is:

How to Promote Your News Web Site Online and Get Quality Traffic

Promoting your news web site online requires more due diligence than promoting a business that sells a physical product. Like the name of your site, your domain name should be unique, recognizable and something that people can easily remember. After you set up the brand and generate content, the next step is to promote the news articles and make sure they get read. One way is to promote through social media.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter offer opportunities for readers to directly connect with web content. Create accounts on the most popular social media platforms. To syndicate your news feed on those services, there are a few prerequisites. Make sure that your news site has an RSS/Atom feed. With the RSS/Atom feed handy, create an account using the service “TwitterFeed.” Follow the instructions and link the RSS/Atom feed to your Facebook and Twitter. Every time you publish an article, it appears on Facebook and Twitter automatically.

When it’s convenient, be sure to login to your accounts and interact with readers and potential readers.

On Facebook fan pages, there’s limited personal interactivity between the page administrators and fans. Facebook appeals to more organic growth. You promote the articles on your site’s fan page and wait for people to “like” you: that’s not a formula for success. You can do more with a Facebook fan page — a lot more.

Consider running sponsored ads for your news site. This allows your site to receive exposure on user profiles of those within your targeted demographic. Facebook Ads offer businesses the opportunity to broadcast ads based on a specified age range, location and interests. You’ll also see very detailed estimates on how many people your ad will “reach.” Those estimates will come in handy when crafting a presentation for potential advertisers. Before you invest any money in Facebook Ads, consider the nature of your news site. If your news site appeals to a limited or niche demographic, you should focus instead on promoting your site for free by using Twitter and submitting your site to search engines.

Critics of the Facebook advertising program have said that Facebook ads are too discreet and not very engaging. To overcome these issues, you need to have ad copy that will emotionally invest people into reading the news on your website. Think like someone at a news desk. You need a captivating headline and concise teaser copy that brings people to you. Consider mentioning milestones for your publication (“Over two million subscribers!”) and announcing/reminding potential readers of resourceful sections (i.e. Classifieds). Your teaser copy must be clear and focused on one subject. Don’t hesitate to place advertisements that announce giveaways and contests held by your publication. Advertising a news site on Facebook will always be trial and error, but the likelihood of gaining new visitors will increase when you invest in longer ad campaigns. Continuously tweak your ad content until you find the right wording and demographic.

Your Facebook page content needs constant maintenance. You need to populate your Facebook page with news articles regularly. Be sure to interact with your readers regularly and converse with them. Human interaction is a popular social media trend for businesses. Encourage readers and viewers to not only check out your content, but also comment and get involved in other ways. For example, readers respond favorably to captivating visuals — just like they do in print publications. Readers tend to respond to photos of stunning and colorful landscapes, food photos, and timeless portraits that readers can relate to. It’s preferred that the visuals you upload on your Facebook page relate to articles on your website. Follow up with some text that encourages people to check out your articles and features.

Twitter takes things to the next level. The popular social media service allows news sites to interact with people directly. Take advantage of the features that Twitter has, such as the “Find People” option. If you have a Gmail, Yahoo or an AOL e-mail account that has contacts, use that e-mail account and Twitter will search for contacts that also have a Twitter account. Be sure to “follow” those who are already following you on Twitter. Sites like “Twellow” ( ) can help you find followers based on categories. Tweet Grader ( ) allows you to find and follow users who live in your community. Follow members that would be interested in the news on your web site. The people you choose to follow should also have many followers and update regularly. Never think about the amount of people you follow. Always think about the type of people who you want to follow. Quality over quantity is an adage that’s welcomed on Twitter. If you focus on finding the right people — and not following a lot of people — you’ll be successful.

Connect with users who either benefit from reading the articles you publish or would be interested. For example, if you have an article that features a certain business, follow popular users that are likely to express interest in the business and their product, including the business’ Twitter account. If you have an article that covers an event, follow popular users that have a strong likelihood of posting or re-tweeting event information. Interact with these users in moderation. Imagine you’re at a bar and you overhear people talking about something that you’re interested in. The best way to jump in is to study the flow of the conversation and then take part once the opportunity to do so arises. If someone asks a question about a subject featured in one of your articles, feel free to answer them with a link. People will appreciate the friendliness as long as you’re focused on being resourceful and not promoting your news site directly. Remember, you’re trying to promote your news site — so being resourceful should be your primary goal. Once you develop a large following or subscriber base, you will no longer need to do this.

It’s important to note that message boards are good for article promotion. While message boards are now taking a backseat because of social media, they’re still very useful for generating buzz and traffic. Register accounts and take part regularly on message boards that relate to your content. It’s advised that you link to your material responsibly and sparingly. In other words, do not spam a message board with links. Only give self-serving links when there is relevance and a deficiency of information. Provide a link to your domain name in your forum signature. Also, don’t hesitate to customize your forum profile. People will be more attentive to those who have a strong, human presence. And once you feel that your site has developed a consistent, substantial amount of traffic, you won’t need to continue promoting your site on message boards.

News websites are a dime a dozen, which is why it’s so important to have quality content. No matter how you promote your news site, the goal for your news site is to have articles that are clear, engaging, thought-provoking and resourceful. When people are able to see that your news site is dynamic in design, organization and content, they will use your site as a resource. News is often considered a disposable commodity in the digital marketplace, but it takes a good content provider — with the promotional know-how — to make the news something worth reading.

Best Website Design

Best Website Design

Creating a website with the best design possible is important, as your website’s success or failure tends to be closely linked to how unique and professional your website’s design is. Getting the best website design is more than just paying a professional to create the theme and features, but it is about coming up with a design that will most accurately reflect your website’s purpose and tone. Below are some tips to help you get the best website design for your brand new website:

1. Tone is important. The tone of your website tells people who you are and what you do, and the tone of your website’s design should match the purpose of your website. Use colors that match your theme, such as brown and dark blue for a professional’s website or white and light colors for an upbeat website.

2. The theme of your website speaks volumes. The professional designers know how important a theme is for a website’s success, as a professionally designed website is much more pleasant to look at than one that is quickly slapped together. Ensure that your website is designed to look professional, interact easily with your visitors, and be visually attractive.

3. Avoid glaring colors or flashing lights. People find that these bright popups or colors tend to irritate them, as their eyes are continuously drawn back to these elements. These elements will usually cause people to avoid your website, as these flashing lights are typically associated with spam and advertisements.

4. White space will make reading the content easy. White space between each column, paragraph, and element of the website will make the website much more appealing visually, as it will give the browser’s eyes somewhere to rest as they scan the page. Using too many elements and too many blocks of text in a web page is the quickest way to confuse your reader and cause him to scan the page quickly to avoid confusion. Cluttered web pages are confusing and will annoy your reader, as he will have to read each item carefully in order to ensure that he does not miss anything. Using plenty of white space ensures that readers can obtain the information they want at a glance, which will keep them interested in what you are offering.

5. When using images on a website, only use professional images that are either bought from a stock photo website or that you hired a professional photographer to take. Poor quality images on a website will lead the viewers to believe that the website itself is low quality, so the product or service being marketed must be of equally poor quality. Using professional images may not make your website look professional, but it will be one more professional element that will serve to improve the overall tone of your website.

Using these simple tips can help you to improve your website’s design overall, and you will find that you will have much more success in your online marketing and retail efforts if your website looks professional.

Design Trend: Obstructed Text

Some websites look great, even if they defy conventional wisdom or tenets of design theory. A new design trend is showcasing that very idea with elements that cover or obstruct some of the text in the design.

It’s an interesting trend because it goes against everything we commonly talk about with design – that it must be readable to connect with users quickly.

Needless to say, this can be a tricky technique to pull off effectively, but the designs are striking and impactful when done well. Here’s a breakdown of the trend and some ideas for how you can try it yourself.

Simple Obstruction

web design trend

If text is covered in a design, then everything else must be super simple visually so that the user doesn’t get lost in too many effects.

At every responsive breakpoint, the text is no more obscured than any other.

Root Studio does a great job of this with a first impression that grabs attention with color and the simple animated giraffe that covers part of the oversized lettering. The trick here is that even though some of the letters are obstructed there’s no question what the word on the screen is. The letters are still readable, due to size, simplicity of the typeface and placement of the obstructive element.

The design team took special care with the text obstruction to maintain the integrity of “ROOT,” which is the brand of this particular website. At every responsive breakpoint, the text is no more obscured than any other. (This is where many of these designs fall short. They look great on desktop resolutions, but the text is too obstructed to be readable on smaller screens.)

Three-Dimensional Layers

web design trend

Adding a three-dimensional layered effect can help elements jump off the screen so users almost feel like they can reach out and touch them. Text can serve as that background element in some cases.

Just make sure that the layer on top of the text doesn’t cover too much of the word (or words). And it is always vital to make sure that text obstructions don’t result in unwanted words because of the placement of other elements.

Simply Chocolate uses this layering effect well. It works mostly because of the combination of oversized lettering that uses common words in a bold typeface and a top element that’s not really large and contains the exact same words that are obscured by the candy element.

This treatment makes the big letters in the background more of a graphic element than readable one, creating a fresh bit of contrast and superb layering effect. (You might find yourself scrolling through all the different candy flavors to see how they create the effect in different ways.)

Forget the Rules of Space

web design trend

Sometimes text obstructions don’t actually cover the letters but encroach on their space.

It’s one of those rules that North Street breaks without the design feeling cluttered or disjointed. The company description bumps right up against the center vertical rule on the screen (the rest of the design uses this divider for a split-screen aesthetic.)

If anyone said they were going to use this treatment, you’d probably try to convince them otherwise, but here it works. The visual composition is so light – thanks to plenty of white space – and they typeface choices are bold enough that the lightweight gray line almost just falls into the background even though it gets in the space that should be reserved for text.

A second gray line further splits text in the navigation, but most users probably won’t even notice the obstruction.

For Large Lettering Only

web design trend

Looking at all the examples here, you’ll probably notice a common theme. All of the obstructed lettering is quite large and uses simple typefaces.

Small lettering won’t typically give you enough room to cover part of the text in a way that appears purposeful. If you plan to design with a text obstruction, it should be intentional and have meaning.

Complicated scripts of novelty styles are just too difficult to read with an element on top of them.

Covering small lettering is incredibly difficult, in terms of purposeful design and readability. That’s why the technique is paired with oversized typography.

These large, often sans serif, typefaces are easy to read at a glance and often have medium stroke widths and large bowls and counters that make layering elements more practical. To make this concept work, you need letters with shapes that lend themselves to this concept. Thin or condensed type styles don’t often work, and complicated scripts of novelty styles are just too difficult to read with an element on top of them.

Elements With Little Contrast

web design trend

Sometimes the text obstruction isn’t an element that’s on top of text; it is the relationship between the text element and what surrounds it. A lack of contrast between text and background elements can result in a text obstruction as well.

Again, this can be a difficult concept to pull off effectively. Text innately exists to be read. A lack of contrast can make that difficult.

When paired with highly readable text, low contrast text elements are subtle reminders on the screen. These elements will be read after other higher contrast elements.

In the design for Anew, above, the description of the business is more important than the name brand. That’s what the design tells users because of the type treatment. They key words “rooftop + test kitchen” are easy to see and read. The name “Anew” appears in a low contrast location under the brand mark. The eye is still drawn to it because of the large logo, but it is not the primary focal point when it comes to reading and information gathering.

Part of the reason this treatment works in this space is because of the content of the design. Think about the symbiosis between the word “Anew” and the bright white dinner plates. It feels fresh, different and enticing.


Obstructed text designs are becoming more popular all the time. Not that long ago you would have been hard-pressed to find anything with this style online. (Print designs have used it more consistently because designers didn’t have to worry about responsive breakpoints.)

Just take care in creating something with text that’s not fully visible. Make sure that words still say (and mean) what you intend. If you have any doubt about how a design will be perceived, or read, when using obstructed text, consider another option. You never want to make your design difficult for users to understand.

How to Use Google Analytics to Increase Traffic to Your Website

You can use Google Analytics as a tool to drive even more traffic to your site. Google Analytics is not just used to show where traffic is coming from and to tell statistics about your site. What many people do not know is that you can use Google Analytics to analyze your website and increase your traffic so bringing more visitors to your site.

Firstly you might want to know a bit more about Google Analytics and where it came from. In April 2005 Google acquired Urchin Software Corp. and formed Google Analytics. Google also used and accepted Measure Map and integrated it as part of Google Analytics. Google Analytics shows quite a few statistics and is very useful for web developers, Internet marketers and online business owners. Google used to market this differently and had a premium version of their popular tracking software, which was Urchin but they discontinued this product on March 28, 2012.

Google Analytics can not only track visitors coming from different sites. It can track visitors coming from search engines, referring websites, social networks and people that come to the website direct. Its a pretty amazing piece of software, is not it? And it's completely free to use.

I am sure there is many guides and reports written out there for Google Analytics such as how to use Google Analytics, what it is, etc. But this article is different from the rest. This article will tell you how to actually increase your traffic and guide you step by step on how you can implement these tips onto your website.

Analytics is a great tool to check where the traffic on your website is coming from. You can even go into specifics and tell what city they are from, what browser they are using, how long they are staying on your website. However these are all great things to find out about your site, but the main parts to look at and on Google Analytics for your website are;

  • Traffic Sources> Overview – This lets you know how many people have visited your website and which date they visited your website on. It also lets you know the percentage of traffic that was direct, search engine traffic, referral or campaign. You can also use Analytics to track how good your AdWords campaign is doing and if it is worth it for you to carry on paying the AdWords campaign
  • Traffic Sources> Sources – Clicking on this tab in the sidebar allows you to see which website is referring the traffic to your site. It helps you to understand where the traffic is coming from so you can focus more on utilizing your time and effort on the top ranking sites.
  • Audience> Demographics> Location – Allows you to find out where your visitors are visiting your site from and also how long the average duration of their visit among other stats. This is good information for you to see which country you want to market your website more to.

Be sure to keep on checking the on Google Analytics regularly for change of patterns in traffic. Now, that does not mean sit on Analytics for 20 hours a day waiting for something to change. Just check it out every week or so to analyze the stats and to see what traffic sources you can focus on.

It can be very beneficial for you if you find out what keywords your users are using to look up your website. On the Analytics dashboard if you first click on Traffic Sources on the Search Engine part, you can find out what keywords your users are using to find your site. It gives you an insight on the keywords that you need to work on and the keywords which you have neglected.

Make sure you spend more time on the sites that bring you more traffic

This is one of the main things you can do and also one of the most important things you can do. If you spend more time on the websites that bring you more traffic and less time on the websites that do not bring you any traffic, you are certainly going to exceed. You will essentially be eliminating the sites that bring you less traffic. This is like the Pareto principle or more commonly known as the 80/20 rule, it is also used by Tim Ferriss in The Four Hour Workweek . This rule suggests 80% of your traffic would come from the top 20% of the sites that refer you.

To check where the traffic is coming from and which sites are giving you the most traffic please follow these steps:

  • Select which site you want to see the stats of in the Google Analytics dashboard. Once you have done this click on Traffic Sources
  • Once you have done that click on Sources and then click on References .
  • You should now see all the sites that have referred you and which sites are directing more traffic towards you. You can also see how long each user is spending that is coming from that specific site and how many of those users are new.
  • Check out which sites are outperforming which and focus on the ones that are giving you the most traffic. If Twitter is giving you the most traffic, start focusing more on Twitter. If Facebook is outperforming Google then focus more on Facebook.
  • Start doing more of what is working and less of what is not working!

Produce more content that is popular with your users

Check out which content is already popular with your users. Logically, the content that your users already find helpful and are viewing the most, they will appreciate it if you produce similar content to it. If you produce more content that is popular it will attract more visitors, which will get more people sharing your content which will then bring you even more visitors.

Here's how to check which content is your most popular:

  • To check which pages are the most popular on your site, go onto the Analytics dashboard.
  • Click on the Content tab in to sidebar and then click on Site Content and All Pages
  • When you have done this you should be able to view all the stats about your site including which pages are the most visited
  • Analyze all the stats. Develop more similar content to the pages that are already popular.
  • You can also create a poll or survey and ask your visitors, what content they want on the site.
  • Write more articles and content that is popular
  • Share the content on social media websites that is popular

One last thing, you should focus on posting new content on your days that more visitors visit your site. If you post new articles and content on days that are more popular with your visitors, you will certainly see an increase in traffic.

Google Analytics is a great tool to use to analyze where traffic is coming from on your site and how many visitors are visiting your site among many other stats. If you have not already got an account with Google Analytics please click here .

If you have any of your own tips on how to increase traffic although Google Analytics, please comment below! If you found this article helpful then please share it!

Automotive Sales Leads – Getting a Big Boost From Dealer Chat

Automotive dealers understand their website is just as important as their physical car lot. In most cases, the dealership’s website is a visitor’s first introduction to the dealership. With more people beginning their car shopping online, dealers realize they need a way to capture more of these visitors information and turn them into leads.

Dealer chat is proven to help keep visitors on a dealer’s site, while working to convert more of the existing traffic into valuable automotive sales leads. It improves visitor satisfaction, while working to increase the dealer’s lead conversion. Here’s how dealer chat works to increase automotive sales leads:

Instant communication: It allows website visitors to have direct interaction with the dealership instantly. In this day and age, where people are acclimated to immediate response, the majority won’t fill out a quote form and wait for a reply. Providing visitors with an instant way to communicate improves visitor satisfaction and increases leads.

No time constraints: A staffed dealer chat service, providing 24×7 online support, accommodates website visitors around the clock. Automotive live chat provides 24×7 continual support and works to generate 30 to 60% more automotive sales leads, even when the dealership is closed.

Capture more visitors: Website visitors, who are reluctant to provide all their information on a static ‘contact us’ form, will click to chat. It establishes rapport, provides instant support, and converts more visitors into valuable leads.

It is found effective in keeping visitors on the dealer’s website. Retaining visitors hooked on the website will help convert more web browsers into valuable automotive sales leads and customers. Dealers using automotive live chat are gaining a major advantage over their competitors who do not offer this type of service. They know that dealer live chat works, and it provides their sales staff with valuable leads.

Increase Automotive Sales Leads: This service is proven to be the most cost effective way for a dealer to increase lead conversion from their existing website traffic. As mentioned above, most visitors won’t take the time to fill out a quote form, but they will click to chat. This helps increase automotive sales leads.

Higher closing ratio: Leads from a dealer’s own website have a much higher closing percentage than any other lead source. Dealer chat automotive sales leads are leads the dealer wouldn’t have received, without this valuable service to capture them.

Maximize return on investment: Dealers spend thousands of dollars in driving traffic to their sites. Dealer chat is proven to increase lead conversion from the existing website traffic. It’s the best way for dealer’s to maximize their return on their website and advertising investments.

Dealers can’t afford to miss the opportunity that online automotive chat support has to offer.

What is Cornerstone Content And Why It’s Important

Making your website accessible and easy to navigate can be the difference between retaining visitors and losing them to other sites. Strong, well-designed cornerstone content is a major factor in keeping traffic on your site and improving your customer experience. This content can also help you improve your SEO, which will boost your place in search results and bring more viewers to your site. If you don’t already have well-written and designed cornerstone content, start today so you don’t miss out on the benefits it can bring to your business.

What is Cornerstone Content?

Cornerstone content is the foundation of your website. It’s the most important, well-written, and explanatory information that you have to offer in your niche. You’re building your entire website on the basic fundamentals of your niche. It might include things like introductory blog posts, frequently asked questions, or other important information like instructions or warnings. Anything a new visitor might need to understand the content of your website or content area can be a cornerstone.

Cornerstone content should help a person get familiar with both your website and the most important topics that you’re covering.

Another reason it’s called cornerstone content is because it should be the best content on your site. This is the content many people will see when they first navigate to your website. Plan to make a good first impression with strong and relevant pieces. One way to increase the number of returning visitors to your site is actually to have a series of helpful or introductory posts linked on the welcome page.

How Many Cornerstones Should I Have?

There is no hard and fast number for the amount of cornerstone content you need, but look to have a minimum of four or five pieces of content. They should be well-researched, clear, and informative. Depending on your topic area, you may need more cornerstone posts. Don’t be afraid to branch out and create additional pieces. Few undertakings are done overnight. Update your website with cornerstone content as you grow and you’ll eventually have a wider, more solid foundation.

How to Decide Which Posts are Cornerstone Content

To decide what is cornerstone content, load your website and pretend you’re a viewer interested in your niche but unfamiliar with your business. Imagine that you’re not an expert. Try to figure out which articles or pages you’d want to look at first. What information are you seeking? The posts that a new visitor would attempt to find are cornerstone content. It’s the most basic and important information your website has to offer.

If you’re creating cornerstone content for the first time, decide what issues will be most pressing for a person searching for content in your niche. If you’re selling doghouses, for example, an article about how to choose a doghouse or the different types of doghouses would be good choices. They’re helpful articles that will appeal to many people, and bring them to your site. Once a person associates you with knowledge, they may be more likely to trust you and use your products or services.

Why is Cornerstone Content Important?

Cornerstone content is important for several reasons. The first is that it’s the information someone needs to determine whether your website is useful. If you’ve ever been to a site that lacked a clear structure, you understand the need for cornerstones. They guide a new viewer into your site and help them come to trust in the product or service you’re providing.

Cornerstone content also acts as a hub for all the posts, articles, or content you have about one topic. It’s an introduction instead of a deep, nuanced discussion of one particular aspect of an issue. Think of it as an excellent overview of topics that matter most in your niche.

How Does Cornerstone Content Help Me?

To get a better idea of how cornerstone content can improve your website, look at how Brian Clark of Copyblogger expanded his audience.

When his site started in 2006, he only had two pieces of cornerstone content that were of interest to his target audience. They were pieces about fundamental concepts in copywriting and blogging. These drew people into his site and his regular blog updates helped keep visitors around and encouraged return visits. Derek Halpren says, “The cornerstone content gave Brian instant credibility.”

More than a decade later, Brian has more than a dozen cornerstones on his site that draw in new traffic and help a viewer become accustomed to the topic. Those original cornerstone resources are still helping Copyblogger rank for strong keywords and pull in new viewers today. For Brian and others who use cornerstone content successfully, it helps them rank for high-visibility keywords and positions them as topic authorities.





Cornerstone Content and SEO


“Sites don’t rank: pages rank. If you want to rank for a keyword, you’ll need to determine which page is going to be the page ranking for that keyword”

Joost de Valk,


So what SEO benefits are there and how do you get them from cornerstone content? One of the biggest positives is that writing cornerstones can help you rank for popular keywords. These can be difficult to have a strong position for otherwise. Since cornerstone content topics will come up in other blog posts, it’s important to make sure you’re presenting your pages the right way for Google to understand which pieces are cornerstone content and which are supplementary.

Cornerstone Content and Linking Structure

Think of your site content as a graph with the HOMEpage at the top. All the less important articles appear near the bottom, filtered down from more important pieces. Your cornerstone content should be near the top of the graph, preferably linked on the HOMEpage.

As you discuss the cornerstone topics in other posts and places, link back to the cornerstone articles. It will make Google’s crawlers interpret them as more important than the other pages, ideally. For example, if you’re writing a post about marketing as a cornerstone piece, link back to it from articles like “Marketing to Students” or “Tips for a Great Marketing Strategy”.

Cornerstone Content and External Links

If you’re able to get high-value links from an external source, consider having it link back to one of your cornerstone articles. Since cornerstone content is ideally competing for the most competitive keywords, it’s important to give it some priority.

High-value links from great sources can boost your SEO. Point them at your cornerstone pieces to help them rank for those more difficult keywords. Keep that in mind when you’re doing content outreach with other sites.

Cornerstone Content and Customer Engagement

Since cornerstone pieces are your strongest and most relevant content, they increase customer engagement. People who enter your page looking for answers should be able to find them easily and not have to search through your site. When a customer finds a site useful, they’re more likely to return and recommend the site to friends.

Presenting the cornerstone content up front also offers the benefit of keeping someone on the page. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, people leave webpages in less than 30 seconds in large numbers, but more slowly after the first 30 seconds. If you can keep a viewer on your page for 30 seconds, you have a better chance to retain them.

Since cornerstone content is interesting and relevant, it can hold customers past that crucial 30-second mark. Keeping someone on the page lets you get a chance to wow them with what you’re offering.


“You need to go out and learn something about your industry before you make something for it”

Rand Fishkin, Moz


Crafting Cornerstone Content

cornerstone content

An important skill is creating great cornerstones that stand as guides to newcomers. The strength of these cornerstones is what drives traffic to your site and sets you apart as an authority. So it’s important that everything you present is well-researched. Make sure that you’re providing clear information for a reader who isn’t as familiar as you are with the topic.

Doing research in your niche before you start the process is essential. Knowing what’s out there gives you an idea of what ground there is to cover, what’s old news, and what will catch a viewer’s interest. It can also help you find good links to include in your content.

If you already have a lot of content, select the strongest pieces that best represent and elucidate your area of expertise. If you don’t have content yet, write a list of questions that most people searching for the keywords you’re targeting would have. Start writing your first cornerstone piece to answer the one that seems most important or compelling.


7 Tips for the Best Cornerstone Content

  • Figure out what keywords to use. To do this, ask yourself what search someone would perform to find your page. Once you know what keywords you’re targeting, focus on making your page respond to a search for that keyword as best you can.
  • Focus your metadata with your keywords. Remember that your title and meta description may appear on your Google result. Make sure it’s eye-catching and references the content of the page.
  • Consider the competition. If your competition doesn’t have strong cornerstone pages, it improves your chance of gaining return visitors through great content. On the other hand, strong content from competitors means you must set yourself apart. Consider setting up a tutorial or cornerstone pages that link together. It could help you stand out.
  • Draw your reader’s eye to your cornerstone content with an explanation of what you’re providing, an intriguing story, or some kind of offer. Getting attention can be difficult, so try to lead with something strong.
  • Use bullet points and subheadings to break up your content and increase visual appeal.
  • Include videos, images and other media to help illustrate your points and expand on them.
  • Read over your content regularly and update it as needed. Google favors pages with content that’s updated over those where it isn’t.


Cornerstone Content and Marketing

One way to create effective cornerstones is to think of them as a product. They’re entries to your brand or answers to questions, for example. Everything you do to attract customers to your page is marketing. In that same way, effective cornerstones are marketing too. But don’t write cornerstone pieces the way you would an advertisement. Instead, think of them as teaching tools.

Consumers often block out marketing, but respond positively to educational pieces. Write your cornerstone pieces with the intention to teach the reader something. Since you’re providing positive and free resources, people will be drawn back to your site. If you do an exceptional job, you also improve your chances of social shares. These strategies should help you create stronger content that resonates better with visitors.

Presenting Your Cornerstone Content

A landing page is one of the best ways to present your cornerstones to a new website viewer. It creates a roadmap that showcases your best content and helps people find it immediately. One way to do this is by linking it to your landing page.

Make your cornerstone content visible and easily accessible. It shouldn’t be a struggle for a new visitor to find it and read it. If the cornerstone content links together, be sure to provide a way for a person to navigate from one piece to the next.

Link back to cornerstone content in future articles or blogs.


Cornerstone Content and a Call to Action

Since one of the reasons to have cornerstone content is to increase customer engagement, include an appropriate call to action on your pieces. This will help a person to know where to go to utilize your products or services. In the same way cornerstone content should be easy to find, so should the content you want to point people at.

Cornerstone content provides viewers an entry point to your website and can help retain a first-time visitor. It showcases the knowledge that you have; it helps you gain the trust of a potential customer. Craft strong cornerstone pieces and present them properly for the best result.

You don’t have to start from scratch, since you can fix up old posts or content and make them good enough to be cornerstones. Don’t be intimidated. Cornerstone pieces are an essential part of your website and will help you retain customers and improve your SEO. The time you spend creating great content will pay off in the end as cornerstone content draws new visitors to your site.

Do you have any cornerstone content on your website or blog? Feel free to show us in the comments!

The post What is Cornerstone Content And Why It’s Important appeared first on The Blog Herald.


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