Category Archives: Internet marketing

What Are They Saying About You on Yelp and Google+

Word of Mouth Advertising

Online Reviews are Word of Mouth Advertising on Steroids.

And even one or two negative or “so so” reviews can cost you staging gigs, before you get a chance to state your side of the story.

And if you can get 5, 6 7 or more positive 5 stars rating it will definitely increase your chances of attracting new clients.

But the hassle of getting even your best clients to leave reviews has been a problem, not only for home stagers, but for people in virtually every business.

But there is a new system that works and works well.  

And for a limited time, you can try it out for free.

Reputation Pro by Earl Netwal

I will personally set the system up for you, and help you build your reputation and business.

Click on the link to read more and to sign up for this powerful new tool that will boost your reputation in your local market and land you more home staging clients.

Author: Earl Netwal


Proof That Online Video Marketing Grabs Eyeballs

Online Video Marketing Grabs Eyeballs

I have been promoting my online video marketing services to Home Staging Professionals and others.  I have claimed that the visibility of the video thumbnail in search results draws eyes to the video. But until now did not have any definitive proof of that fact. Now I do.

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The material below was taken from a blog post on and in turn reported on work done by SEO strategists Matt Green (@MChuckGreen) and John Van Bockern (@JohnEVanBockern) from Ethical SEO Consulting.

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The researchers started with a sample search for New York Accident Lawyer.

An internet savvy group of subjects was given the following task and instructions:

You need to find a car accident lawyer in New York. You Google search “New York Car Accident Lawyer”. Which result do you click first?

Then, the top four results of a Google search page appeared. The first set of 100 respondents saw results below that included no media snippet and looked like this:

Original Test Page

Using heat map technology, the researchers were able to see where the test subjects eyes focused, which not surprisingly confirmed that the top listing was the most likely to get noticed.

Heat Map Without Videos

Heat Map Without Videos

The actual number of clicks received paralleled those results as shown on the pie chart below.

Percentage of Clicks

In the second scenario, the chart was identical, except that the thumbnail of a video was added to the third result. The top listing again dominated, but more attention was drawn down lower on the page.

Heat Map with Video In #3 Position

As seen below, the percentage of people clicking on the top listing dropped dramatically, and the third place listing gained significantly more clicks.

Clicks with Video thumbnail in #3 position

Clicks with Video in #3 position

Now the study goes on to demonstrate that a rich snippet for authorship does even better than video in this particular test. However, as the authors point out, the test has its limitations. Specifically, the test subjects tended to be more internet savvy than the general population, and the results for New York Car Accident Attorney may vary from what searchers might do when searching for a Home Stager in your town.

If you are interested in getting more people to look at your skills when they are searching for a home stager you should consider my Online Video Marketing service.

Not only does Online Video Marketing get more eyeballs, a video provides a great way to tell your story. People are used to watching TV and a well done, short video can be an excellent way to get them to take action and call you.

I can help you rank your own existing video or create one for you. But no matter how powerful your video, or excellent your home staging skills, it will do you no good, if no one see the video or learns about your skills.

And that is what online video marketing can do for you.







Trends: Home Staging Down But Not Out

In the aftermath of the real estate collapse it is not surprising to learn that online searches on Google for “Home Staging” is down as well.

As the following chart indicates interest in home staging peaked in August of 2007 and again in July of 2009. Partial data for March of 2013 puts the level of interest at just 35% of the levels at the peak. The fact that this is up from the 8 year low of 21% in December of 2012, may indicate that the recent rebound in the housing market may be stimulating demand for staging as well.

Interest in

Interest in “Home Staging” over past 5 years

Within the US, the greatest level of interest in Home Staging is coming from Colorado, and from the Denver metro area in particular.

“Home Staging” Interest by State

The following map, shows the hot spots from a metropolitan perspective.

US Regional Hot Spots of Interest in

US Regional Hot Spots of Interest in “Home Staging”

Interest in Home Staging is actually higher in Canada than in the US. There it is most strongly evident in the Province of Quebec.

Canada Provincial Interest in

Canada Provincial Interest in “Home Staging”

And the city of Toronto is the center of that activity, as displayed below.

Canadian City interest in

Canadian City interest in “Home Staging”

With demand down, a significant number of home stagers have exited the market. In my marketing efforts to home stagers, I have run into a number of websites that still show up on the first page of Google Searches for “Home stager X city,” where when contacted I discover the individual is no longer actively pursuing home staging.

For those still active in the field, this lesser competition may be beneficial, but for the individual who understands the value of home staging and is looking for a qualified stager, this can be discouraging.

This is just another small reason why an active stager in a market may want to do something extra to stand out, and why my online video marketing program can be so valuable.

With fewer people searching for staging, you want to capture as many of them as possible. And the best way to do that is to stand out on the search results.


Discover Linked In’s Power – Free Crash Course

Do you use LinkedIn?

If not you should. It’s free to set up a profile and a great way to network with key people in your community. Unlike Facebook where most people are interested in socializing and sharing photos, Linked in is about business.

And being in business, that’s just where you want to be.

The typical Linked In member is older and more affluent than the Facebook friend as a result far more likely to appreciate your home staging services. More importantly, they are far more likely to be used to the idea of paying for professional services.

LinkedIn is also a great way for you to network with other allied business professionals and build your referral resources.

I have just created a five part crash course highlighting the key things you need to know to put LinkedIn to work for your business.

Linked IN Crash Course


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Defining My Business Mantra

What ever business you are in, it helps to have a crystal clear conception of your marketing purpose. For me, that has required a bit of reconsideration of late.

For a long time I have and continue to refer to myself as the Micro Business Specialist. This was fine as far as it went, however, what is it that I actually specialize in?

On one of my recent walks, (I have become an avid walker this past year – which has helped me lose 70+ pounds) I finally was able to crystalize just what it is I do.

I develop Online Media Customer Acquisition Strategies for both online and offline businesses.

The internet has blossomed and warped into dozens of key media that go well beyond the original web site that used to be the primary vehicle for home stagers and others to get found by their prospects.

Today, social media from Twitter, to Linked In, to Facebook and several dozen other venues are demanding attention.

Not all are equally valuable for every business. And all require more know-how than the typical business person is able to devote.  Heck, it’s hard enough for those of us who work in in the field 40-80 hours a week to keep up.

So that is what I do. I work with businesses to identify where they should strategically place their emphasis, to maximize their ability to attract customers.

Now there are some basics, that continue to start with your main web site. Most small business web sites still stink as my first eBook from several years ago stated.  But the fix, is usually not that difficult to accomplish.

What I am seeing today that is front and center and still not effectively implemented by most homestagers is their listings on Google Places Pages, and the appearance of their sites on mobile devices such as smart phones, ipods, and other such tablet devices.  Both of these are important today and increasingly important as each day passes.

Like most business people, I note that most home stagers are far more expert in their main business and tend to not pay much attention to their online marketing. Unfortunately, this is costing you potential business in your market, IF you are in a competitive one.

If you are the only homestager in 50 miles it doesn’t matter.  If on the other hand you have two or three or more friendly rivals it matters a lot.

Let me suggest that you need to focus on what your key business mantra is, and if you need more customers consider hiring me or someone like me to be your online marketing assistant. That way you can do what you do best, and I or someone like me can focus on devising effective strategies that will help keep you busy doing it.

Currently I am offering a $150 marketing review of your site, and a look see at your competition in your specific market and a proposed course of action.  If you decide to hire me to implement a particular  set of strategies I will credit the $150 toward the cost of implementation.

I also offer a 100% money back guarantee on the marketing review. If you are unhappy with what I have to offer for any reason, I will immediately refund your $150 and we will part company with no hard will whatsoever. So there is virtually no risk on your part.

To take advantage of this limited time offer, email me at or call me at 612-724-4392 to discuss details and timing.









The Web Is Changing – And it May Affect Your Business

As always, things constantly are changing. That has especially been true of the internet which itself has caused so much change in our lives and the way we do business.  While the following free report may not be central to your home staging business, it is a good idea for all of us to stay up to date on the major changes that are happening to the world wide web.  The report below is free although you will need to opt in to get your copy. I highly recommend you do that and then read it.

Like I said, it may not be central to your home staging business today, but you will be better prepared for some of the dramatic changes coming in the next year or two if you read this.

Based on alarming new data, Ryan Deiss is predicting the World Wide Web as we know it, as independent direct marketers, will be dead in 18 to 24 months.

Ryan’s outlined his findings in a shocking new report he’s calling: The “End of The Web?” Report

You can get a complimentary copy right now by clicking the link below:

Inside the report Ryan will reveal…

* The 3 giant companies who are KILLING online “mom and pops”
(like YOU!) using an old Walmart strategy…and how you can PARTNER
with them. (Yep, if you can’t beat ’em it’s best just to join ’em…)

* Why cheap, easy traffic (i.e. Google AdWords) has all but dried up, and the “Brute Force” traffic strategy that is more reliable and less expensive than Google…

* The “5 Phases of Technology” and why the transition from Phase 4 to Phase 5 will render most online businesses impotent over the next 12 – 18 months…

* The $200,000 “bet” I make every 30 days, and how you can follow my lead and cash-in on the largest wealth transfer the web has ever known…

* How the most common gadget in the world is killing traditional eCommerce, and why tactics like upsells and continuity may be gone forever. (There is a solution to this mess, but you have to read the report to see what it is…)

and much, much more…

Claim your free copy of his 24 page report NOW before he’s forced to remove it from the web.

Click the link below to claim your free copy now:

Ryan realizes that he’s making some very bold statements that could come back to haunt him, but he’s willing to risk his reputation to make sure that you don’t get blindsided by these massive shifts in the marketplace.

That alone just move this report to the top of my reading list!

Listen, I know this must sound like a very doom and gloom message, but Ryan assures me there is a rainbow, if you know where to look, and pot of gold too.

He believes that he’s figured out a way for few of us to profit from the coming changes. The report outlines the entire process, along with Ryan’s research data and proof points to inside the report.

Go grab your complimentary copy now Click Here =>

I’m sure that some people will say that Ryan’s being over dramatic or that he’s gotten too emotionally attached to his ideas, but I think that you’ll see: the facts back him up 100%.

Grab a copy of the End of the Web report now for FREE:


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Home Staging to Sell – You Can’t Afford Not To In This Flooded Real Estate Market!

Home Staging to Sell – You Can’t Afford Not To In This Flooded Real Estate Market!

By Pamela Mac

Home Staging is a proven vital tool in today’s flooded real estate market. With well over 90% of all prospective buyers searching the web before touring homes with an agent, and mere seconds to make that first impression, MLS or FSBO photos on-line had better WOW! Having an abundance of homes to choose from has left the buyer’s market very particular and demanding. Builders too, who have been hit by the recession, are slashing prices on new homes. So, the competition is tough!

Although every home should be staged prior to listing, it’s never too late. The Real Estate Staging Association polls 2000 active real estate agents annually for their current home staging statistics. Once again, consistently since 2007, despite the market being down, homes that are staged to sell, do sell faster; saving sellers thousands in monthly expenses. Just one of the impressive statistics in their 2010 report is for Occupied Homes that were listed without staging first. The average DOM (Days on Market) was 233 days–that’s almost 8 months! After those same homes were staged to sell, the average DOM was 53. That’s 78% less time on the market!

Today, home sellers have options. A professional home stager can be brought in to make the needed changes, or for the Do-It-Yourself generation, who’d like to save some money, many staging ideas can be done by the home seller. And for the very design-challenged seller, who has difficulty knowing where to begin, personalized advice and guidance can now be obtained by submitting photos of the home (interior and exterior) to be reviewed by an expert with a critical buyer’s eye. Sellers are then provided with a detailed report, including budget friendly suggestions and recommendation for the home to make it appeal to the maximum number of buyers. This can save a seller lots of time on the market and thousands in price reductions.

Maybe you’re an agent, who has listings that don’t show very well. After sitting on the market for awhile, your client is asking (or badgering) you for why the home hasn’t sold. You know why, but hesitate to be brutally honest about their home. Before suggesting that it may be overpriced and deducting 10, 15 or even $20,000, suggest that a professional home stager determine what’s prohibiting the offers. That fee would be a fraction of the price reduction and is tax deductible upon the sale of the home as an advertising expense; paying for itself!

The Home Staging industry has risen to the needs of sellers today; and while this country’s major cities have embraced the new standard, much of the country needs to be enlightened and realize that what was once their home, is now a product they are marketing. Too often, sellers can’t detach themselves from their home, it’s distinctive style and it’s memories. A professional home stager can guide you on how to let go of personal tastes and appeal to the maximum number of prospective buyers.

Tough times call for creative measures, because the 21st Century demands excellence in real estate presentation. Does your listing draw buyers in or send them right to the competition? If it’s the latter, you can’t afford not to seek the advise of an expert, to get to the root of the problem. Have your photos analyzed and learn how to draw the buyers to your property and get what it’s worth!

Pamela Mac
(910) 730-2386

Article Source:—You-Cant-Afford-Not-To-In-This-Flooded-Real-Estate-Market!&id=6205644


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A little brag about another of my blogs…

I’ve been informed by that my Minneapolis Internet marketing services have achieved top three ranking by them for internet marketers in my home town of Minneapolis.  I welcome this recognition.

Internet Marketing Consultants, Minneapolis

My efforts in Minneapolis are focused on helping local businesses attract new customers by being more findable online. Pretty much the same as here. I do tend to focus more there on non internet marketing businesses, and have been pushing as hard as I can for businesses to take advantage of the new Google Places pages opportunity.

I started my efforts a number of years ago working with home stagers and have since taken that effort and some of the lessons I’ve learned over the years to many other markets including my local market.  There are a lot of people in the internet marketing game, so rising to the top in my home town means a lot to me. Afterall, my competition is others learned in the internet marketing game. What this means to you as a home stager is that I can deliver results for you as well.

Much has changed since I first started advising home stagers, its now a lot easier and even more important to take advantage of the resources available to make your business stand out within your local markets.

If you do a good job as a home stager and would like to gain a larger share of your local market’s home staging business, contact me and together we will explore strategies that could help you grow your business.


Internet Marketing Consultants – Minneapolis


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Homestagers – Would You Like a Free Yellow Pages Display Ad?

My reference to a Yellow Pages display ad is a bit misleading.  I admit that, but the truth is that you can now get something as valuable for free.  Better in fact.

I’ve written and posted a series of YouTube videos on the topic already, but it’s surprising how few people pick up on this exceptional opportunity to gain a near term market advantage by taking action.

Below is my most recent YouTube effort.

Home staging professionals who take the time to get their Google Places Page set up properly will get better exposure than those who do nothing or merely claim their page and let it sit partially completed. Those who go the extra mile and get set up properly with citations will do even better. And please note: You DO NOT need a web site to make this work for you.

Google wants to be the new Yellow pages and if they had their way, each of you would fully fill out you Google places pages with ten photos and five videos, plus all the other relevant information.

To encourage you to do that, they give those who do preferential exposure, ie. a higher listing than those who do not. So now you see why it makes sense to be sure to do a complete job.

Google is also used to scam artists manipulating their systems to get advantage, so they have included in their ranking scheme a thing called citations. These are a little more difficult to scam because Google searches the web as only they can to find verification of your business wherever it may exist on other data bases.

For example they actually prefer to see that you have a Bing and Yahoo places listing, as well as any others they can find.

One of the things I do for my clients is set them up with over 140 such listings. One side benefit from my process is that we often find errors, old addresses, old phone numbers, email addresses and other inconsistent information on some of the listings. With our service we get these corrected so that all your listings are uniform. This citation service is important, and will be more important in 6months to 2 years when all your competitors figure out how to fill out their Google Places listing. Most will never get the word that they also need to do this extra step. Which is why my clients will tend to get higher listings then they will.

If you would like more information on my services to help you to properly set up you Google Places Pages email me at or leave a comment to this posting.

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101 Reasons to Use Home Staging

I like this list put together by Rhonda Conchola and posted by her on eZine Articles.  If you are a home stager and want to get more traffic and publicity for your web site and your business, you might want to use this list as a starting point for articles of your own.

Each of the following tips could be used as the germ for your own article.  If you are new to article marketing, consider getting a free copy of my report called Article Power You can get it by clicking on that link or by going to my blog on article writing:

Here is here article:

101 Reasons to Use Home Staging

Are you still stuck on the fence about whether or not to hire a home stager? How about 101 great reasons why you should consider this very smart real estate investment? You may be surprised to learn some of these reasons really do make practical sense.

  1. Statistically, home staging has been proven by a survey conducted by RESA to sell homes faster.
  2. Statistically, property staging has resulted in a higher selling price because the home sold faster.
  3. A home stager can provide an unbiased opinion of the home that the homeowner can not give since he can become partial and so familiar to his own home.
  4. Property Staging gives a competitive edge over other homes on the market.
  5. The cost of real estate staging is always less than the cost of your first price reduction.
  6. Real estate staging creates an emotional response from the potential home buyers that can result in an offer made in the moment of emotional attachment to the home.
  7. Home staging adds color to a home that can act like “eye candy” making the home more desirable.
  8. Real estate staging is essential in a buyer’s market. There are too many homes on the market to choose from.
  9. Property staging can increase the number of showings you have.
  10. Realtors prefer and will choose to show listings that have been staged over listings that have not. Thus, home staging increases showings.
  11. Real estate staging can take a “stale property” that has been on the market for too long and make it a “hot property” once more within the real estate community.
  12. A listing that is staged will show better in online photos and web media than a listing that is not staged.
  13. Real estate staging can increase the perceived value of a property.
  14. Home staging highlights the home’s greatest architectural features.
  15. Staging shows the homes greatest functionality.
  16. It gives potential buyer’s a visual as to how much furniture can actually comfortably fit into a space.
  17. Home staging adds curb appeal, which in turn can help draw prospective buyers in. If the curb appeal is not good, many times the buyers will not even get out of the car to tour the home.
  18. Stagers will help sellers reduce clutter in the home and make it appear larger.
  19. It will make a space feel more organized which can create a peaceful serene feeling for a potential buyer.
  20. It gives the entry or foyer a “WOW” factor when buyers come through the door.
  21. Because home staging recommends to the seller to put away keepsakes and valuables for staging purposes, they are kept safe from anyone touring the home.
  22. It draws the eye away from the small flaws in a home and draw attention to the positive features of a home.
  23. It is the art of decorating a home to appeal to all tastes and therefore will appeal to a broader range of potential buyers.
  24. A quality stager continues to stay educated with the latest design trends and real estate marketing techniques and will implement these techniques when staging.
  25. It can make a space appear larger.
  26. It helps real estate agents do their job more effectively when the home is neat, organized and properly staged
  27. Because there is less “stuff” in the home, staging helps the homeowner keep the home neat for showings.
  28. It helps to clear the air in the home of any odors and helps keep the home smelling fresh.
  29. Staging creates focal points that draw attention to special features in the home.
  30. It will brighten a space as much as possible.
  31. Home staging can integrate certain design elements to a particular room style which can help to sell the home. For ex: A rustic styled room can be staged as such, a country style, a contemporary style, etc.
  32. It depersonalizes a home which will remove the current home owner’s personality and make the potential buyer feel more at home.
  33. It gives a space a harmonized and unified feel that will appeal to more buyers.
  34. A staged home will not be over-powering which can tend to “alienate” prospective buyers.
  35. Home stagers utilize certain staging techniques in a staged home that implements a design plan cohesively through out the home.
  36. Home stagers can identify a home’s style and determine a design plan reflective to that particular style without over powering the design.
  37. It presents a home in a “model home” appeal much the same that the builders use in their model homes.
  38. Home stagers have working relationships with sub contractors and handymen in which they are aware of the quality of their work prior to bringing them to your home.
  39. Using a home stager prior to beginning a home flip can be very beneficial since a home stager is trained to look for the cosmetic details in a property that need the most attention.
  40. A stager can be very helpful in prioritizing the need for certain cosmetic updates which is great when you are working on a limited budget.
  41. A stager can save a home seller the unnecessary expense of buying furniture to stage a home and in some cases also rent furniture and accessories to the homeowner for less money and more flexible rental contracts.
  42. It can make an older home feel more modernized.
  43. Potential buyers will think your in a hurry to sell your home if you leave it vacant.
  44. You only get one chance to make to make a great first impression.
  45. It creates ambiance in a room and gives it a “homey” feeling.
  46. It helps promote multiple offers. Often when there are competitive bids, a bidding war can take place provoking a selling price above the asking price.
  47. It adds charm to an old home that creates a feeling of restored beauty.
  48. It can bring the outdoors in with pops of small palm planters and floral arrangements.
  49. Stagers pay very close attention to the small details of marketing a home that a homeowner may have not have noticed or has grown used to seeing and doesn’t realize any potential problem.
  50. Stagers are very resourceful and can take certain elements of the home and re-purpose and reuse to help the home owner save money.
  51. Home stagers are usually very creative by nature and can creatively arrange certain pieces of furnishings or artwork to create a fresh new look in a home.
  52. Stagers shop for accessories frequently and can often use designer discounts to provide the home owner with lower cost accessories and other services.
  53. A good home stager usually knows what updates and changes will yield the highest return on investment.
  54. Stagers make great overseers for an open house when they have staged the home.
  55. More than 80% of Real Estate Agents are now recommending home staging to their clients. If you are not staging your property, someone else in your neighborhood probably is!
  56. Stagers will assist you in packing, and everyone one knows, nobody likes to pack.
  57. Stagers will help you to stay organized when you pack which will help tremendously when unpacking in the new home.
  58. It eliminates the need for a buyer to have a big imagination.
  59. It makes a cold and sterile empty house become vibrant with color and life through proper accessorizing.
  60. When a buyer walks into a staged property they are looking at how a home is livable instead of trying pick apart the flaws or other small details.
  61. Home staging with a bed in a master bedroom will make a the room more desirable much the same as a bed fluffed and on display in a department store.
  62. Staging a master bath will give the space a “spa-like” feel to it and make it very warm and inviting. It should have the same appeal as an 5 Star hotel has with fresh, towels, soaps, etc.
  63. Because closets are very important to many buyers, clearing the space to stage it and make it appear larger is extremely important and can make or break a deal.
  64. It’s most important to stage a master bedroom (and bathroom) since the person who will buy the home is most likely going to live in that room.
  65. A quality stager will research the demographics in the sellers market and stage a secondary room to appeal to that particular market. For example: young professionals, families with children, etc.
  66. In real life, it is difficult to keep that “new home” look. Staging will help restore and revive your home to it’s “new home ” originality.
  67. It helps to captivate and romance a buyer to make an offer.
  68. It communicates to a potential buyer that the home has been well maintained and cared for.
  69. Staging tells a home’s “story” and gives it character.
  70. It updates the lighting fixtures in an outdated home. Many people live in very dimly lit homes and they are not even aware of how dark it is.
  71. It gives a seller the opportunity to clear out and cash in. Taking a fresh look at what you want to move to the new home and what you don’t need will be the beginnings of a profitable yard sale.
  72. Even the most elegant and high end luxury homes can have too much personality in the home. If a house looks over decorated, buyers will resist the property feeling too uncomfortable in the home.
  73. Stagers are the creative minds realtors depend on to help market their clients home for most money possible.
  74. Often, property staging can increase the selling price of a home.
  75. A real estate stager will recommend neutral wall colors that will appeal to a broader range of buyers.
  76. Stagers can provide quick-fix lost cost solutions to many wear and tear problems through out the home.
  77. House staging coordinates design style with functionality.
  78. Home staging arranges furnishings so they “talk to each other” making the space have a cohesive feel much the same as a model home.
  79. Staging a room can help to define an area that may not necessarily define itself.
  80. Property staging will encourage sellers to stage a room only for it’s intended purpose which will help potential buyers see their furnishings in the space as well.
  81. A staged home will always show better when compared to an un-staged home and will present the home in it’s best possible light
  82. A staged house appears “move-in’ ready.
  83. A staged property will look better on printed listing flyers.
  84. According to a study conducted by RESA in 2009, a staged home will spend 78% less time on the market that an un-staged vacant home.
  85. According to the same study by RESA, a staged property sold on average in 40.5 days.
  86. A staged property that sells quickly will benefit the buyer, the seller, the realtor as well as the stager involved in the sell. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
  87. According to a study conducted by HomeGain home staging will have at least a 286% – 1067% ROI depending on your regional location.
  88. Staging will help to ease the process of your home sale experience since potential problems can be identified and solved before they are spotted by potential buyer.
  89. Working with a home stager can make the home sale process less stressful.
  90. Staging is not decorating-decorating is optional. Staging is more of a necessity if you want to sell your home for the most money possible in the shortest amount of time.
  91. Once you put your home on the market, it is important to remember that your home is no longer your home, but a product you are selling. Staging will help “package” your product more effectively.
  92. Staging a home can eliminate profiling or stereotyping in the mind of a potential buyer.
  93. Buyers want to fall in love with a home. This is much less likely to happen in a cold and sterile, white-walled vacant home.
  94. A stager will help a seller determine what personalized decor in the home should be packed and stored away for the move.
  95. A home stager will help to ensure that a potential buyer does not feel as if he/she is intruding on someone’s private space.
  96. When a property is not staged with furniture it will make every crack in the wall, scuff on the floor, and any other cosmetic defect much more noticeable and turn buyers off.
  97. Real estate staging is quickly becoming an essential piece of the real estate puzzle.
  98. Staging is not just another out of pocket expense. It is a smart real estate investment that yields a high return on investment.
  99. Staging maximizes a home’s selling potential and power.
  100. Home staging can be very affordable. Some companies such as can offer various staging packages for most any budget.
  101. Home staging maintains a professional client-realtor relationship and helps save on marketing costs for realtors.
  102. Staging really works!

Rhonda Conchola, Design Consultant
P&R Remodel and Interior ReDesign

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Here Comes Mobile, Are You Ready?

Every time you think you’ve caught up, internet marketing changes all over again. At first we rushed out to put up web sites, thinking customers would be rushing to find us. We soon learned that merely having a web site was not enough. We needed to do more than set it up, we also needed to optimize. Then we discovered that we needed to do research to identify the right key words to use on our site based on our business and our customer’s point of view.

Even then we learned as time went on that we had to do more. Backlinks were required to prove that our site was worthy enough to climb the rankings so we could be found by our customers. In the process, we have come to notice that video has become an important element. And today, all of that remains the case.

The dirty secret is that while we may do all of the above, so too does our competitors. To get ahead or keep ahead, we must be planning for the next big change that inevitably is heading out way. I am here today to let you know that a big one is already here. And we know by now that this new change will undoubtedly spark further changes down the line.

For most businesses, just keeping up with the day to day business of running a business is time consuming enough. Mastering the ever changing challenges of the internet is a major burden for most. Some of us are still dealing with a change or two ago’s demands. And it is next to impossible to predict and take advantage of the emerging trends. No wonder there has been such a rapid growth in the number of consultants in the internet marketing arena.

The mega companies like AOL, MicroSoft and Google have led the way and even they have faltered a bit, as the change is hard on everyone. A lot of new faces have and will continue to appear. A dominant new trend revolves around the smart phone. What, phones? Weren’t we talking computers?

The growth of cell phones as internet access devices has been evolving for a number of years already, but is about to blossom into a major new factor in the coming 18 months to 3 years.

Today over half of all log ins to Facebook are done from cell phones. And this trend will continue. In a couple of years, people who today leave home making sure they have their car keys, wallets and cell phones will be leaving home only worried about their phones.

Cell phones will become both their keys and their wallets. The desk top computer will be playing a smaller and smaller role. Instead of it, your customers will be using their phones to find barbers, restaurants and hardware stores.

What will that mean to how our web sites look to people viewing them through a phone? The smaller viewing screen will make a difference. What once filled a wide screen monitor will now need to be squeezed into a diminuative phone screen.

This means that our existing web pages will need to be redesigned so our customers do not need to scroll over to see our full pages. We will need mobile ready web pages and content that looks good on a phone screen.

This significant transformation will need to be rolled out within a year or two, if not sooner. Those who are early adaptors will gain a significant temporary advantage. The question to you as a business person, is do you want that advantage or will you allow your competitors to take customers away from you?

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How Much Is A Top Google Listing Worth?

I bet you have taken the time to search for your home staging businesses web site on Google just to see where it ranked.  If you search precisely for the name of your web site it probably comes in on top for that search.

On the other hand had you searched for a keyword a potential customer might have used your results may have varied.  Say you searched for “Bakeries,”  your corner bakery probably didn’t rank very high among the nearly 14 millions other listings that Google offered.

A lot of small business people have given up on their websites as a result of this apparent invisibility. It seemed like a good idea a decade ago to invest in a web site. However, for most small businesses, it has had little if any positive effects for their business.

The alternative that was easiest to figure out was to buy pay per click ads. The cost was controllable and when they converted was a legitimate business expense you could measure. Once they did, they were taken to the landing page and a percentage would convert into sales or leads.

At first a lot of keywords were real cheap, as little as a dime or less. While some lesser searched for terms still can be found cheaply, a lot of more sought after terms will run in the $3-6 range and you would be surprised at how many run from $20 to $50 or more per click. When the rate per click is that high, you really have to be paying attention to your results and maximizing your returns.

In the beginning the “Organic listings” were on the left and the ads on the right. Organic listings are the articles and sites that Google served up as relevant to the requester’s search for free. These free organic listings are the target we are shooting for when we try to get a top Google listing. These days, Google puts the top paid listing at the top of the left column, but we are still referring to the top free listing when we pursue our top ranking.

A useful way to evaluate the value of a top organic listing is to look at the equivalent value of the same number of clicks on a paid ad.

It would cost $25 for 100 clicks to the advertiser. And this would be the equivalent value for 100 clicks on any of the organic searches.

So if you were to get your site ranked high enough to get 100 clicks in a day, it would be worth about $25 to you every day.

Now multiply this out for higher pay per click rates of say $2-5 each or much higher. Some keywords get a lot of searches every day, and this could multiply the value. “Dog Training” is a keyword that has around 550,000 searches every month. Dog training is a competitive word that would cost you $2.44 on average if you wanted to get the maximum pay per click volume for it. The top advertiser would be looking at paying $895.28 every day to get an average of 358 people to his site daily.  [Note that estimate of 358 people is 2% of the daily traffic.] (550,000 / 30 / 358) = 2%]

If our organic listing got the same number of clicks as that ad, we could say that our organic listing was also worth about $900 a day.

However, it does not.

It probably gets a lot more.

Some time ago, as many as a fourth of all visitors would click on one on the ads on they typical results page. These days that has declined to about 18%.

In contrast, current industry estimates are that on average 43% of people click on the top ranking non ad listing, which we know as the top organic listing. That is huge.

The most any individual ad gets is typically from 2-5% depending in part on how many ads are displayed, and in part on how well written the ads are.

Thus the top organic search result is getting between 8 and 22 times as many clicks as the top pay per click ad!

If our Dog Training pay per click was worth around $900 a day, our top organic would have a comparable value running between $7200 and nearly $20,000 every day.

A so we see why a top ranking is considered to be so valuable. That is also why a new industry was spawned to help people get to the top of the search engines. A top ranking for a desirable search term is well worth chasing.

Of course there are a variety of other issues and factors that must be taken into account. It is quite possible that the people who click on the ads are more likely to be buyers compared to those who click on the organic ads.

And while it is great to get a lot of clicks and traffic to your site, its up to the site to do the business you want it to. If it doesn’t it really doesn’t matter how many people see it.

Despite these caveats, it is quite clear that a top search engine showing is indeed a valuable asset.  It’s actual value to a home stager may vary from community to community, but it does matter.

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What Is The Life Time Value Of Your Customers?

What Is The Life Time Value Of Your Customers?

A key concept in understanding your business and it’s marketing plan is the true value of your customers. Finding new customers is one of the primary functions of your marketing plan, but not the only. Think about the long term life time value of your average customer.

While you may make money on the first transaction you get from a new customer, the long term value is in all their subsequent purchases for most businesses. If a barber had a new customer who came in once, teh value would be that one haircut. If that person came in once a month, the annual worth of that customer would be tweve times as much.

If they get their hair cut every two weeks, they are worth twice as much. Suppose the typical person in the barbers home town moves every five years. In that case, they may assume a life time value of five times the annual value.

Now not everyone will keep coming back forever.  Therefore you need to estimate this lifetime value with as good a sense of attrition as you can come up with. Recognizing that people will leave is a critical reason to make sure you are constantly marketing to attact new customers. We will talk about this in another post.

If your product cost more than a haircut, that value is correspondingly greater. Now if your typical customer buys infrequently or only periodically your calculations need to reflect that.

Now there are several reasons to evaluate this concept of life time value. First, it can help you justify the money you spend on your marketing efforts.

Beyond setting your marketing budget, this concept should also help you think about ways in which you can grow that lifetime value. Is there anything you can do to lengthen your customers lifetime? Can you develop a personal relationship so they still come back for their haircut even after they move to new suburb in your metro area? So build a sense of identity or relationship with your customers may help build the long term value. You of course already know this. But think in terms of this constuct and build rapport with your customers.

If you can find ways to get people to spread the word, through positive reviews, outright referrals or just positve word of mouth, you have added to their value. Any new business they send is worth at least as much as you now have to pay to recruit a new customer. And probably more, as the new customer is already warmed up to you.

Additionally, you may well be able to move them up a ladder from a hair cut to a haircut and shave or what ever might be equivalent in your business. You may design your business around offering an entry value or deal and then move customers to higher level or services as they build trust and familiarity.

The hardest person to get to buy is someone who has never purchased from you before. Once they have, they are far more likely to be willing to do so again.

As you contemplate your business and your marketing you want to focus on both the new customer and your existing ones. As you put together your long term business and marketing plans be sure to keep the idea of each customers lifetime value to your business front and center.

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Overcome a Buyer’s Emotional Objections With Home Staging

If you ask many people what they believe staging a home is, you are likely to get a whole range of opinions. One of the most common replies is that home staging is just de-cluttering a home and painting the walls beige. Often this view is even held by professional real estate agents. Unfortunately from this perspective people are missing out on the majority of the value Edmonton home staging can add to their listing. Painting and de-cluttering are important steps when preparing a home for sale, however, these are just two suggestions that a professional home stager might offer.

Home Staging is becoming more widely recognized as an incredibly valuable tool to sell a home. Especially in the current economic climate, home staging is critical to make your listing stand out from the thousands of other houses for sale. Television programs about staging accentuate the benefits and give viewers a 30 minute demonstration of the impact staging makes. One of the pitfalls of these programs is that they try to show the maximum impact in a 30 minute time slot so consumers get the basic idea of what staging is but still don’t know the full range of services that most home staging companies in Edmonton offer.

The decision to buy or sell a house is one of the most emotionally charged decisions that people make. For sellers, this can have a huge impact on how they present their home for sale. Often a seller has mixed emotions about selling a house that may have decades of warm memories attached to it. Or they may be selling under difficult circumstances and may not want to invest any money into the house to bring it up to par. In either situation, a professional home stager will be able to work within the scope of a seller’s emotional state and will gently guide them through the steps to create a home that buyers will fall in love with.

Just as a seller may have strong emotions attached to the property, a prospective purchaser is also making a decision based mostly on emotion and the factors that most influence their emotional response are often subconscious. It is these subconscious emotional responses that many sellers neglect to address when they are preparing their home for sale. Because sellers typically have positive emotional connections to the property they are selling, they just assume that anybody walking into their home will automatically have the same positive view. This is NOT the case. A buyer will be very guarded walking into a prospective home for the first time because they are concerned that if they overlook something they could purchase a problematic property.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression and for this reason a professional home stager is an integral part of any sales team. A properly staged property will draw a buyers attention to positive elements of the property and away from any possible negatives. Now, it’s important to understand that much of what I’ve been describing is happening within a buyer on a subconscious level. The way these subconscious thoughts influence a purchaser is in how they feel which is why buyers looking at a home that isn’t presented well will often pass on a listing that meets all their criteria but “just doesn’t feel right”.

There are a number of factors that can trigger a subconscious emotional reaction in a prospective buyer. Let’s consider one of the most common elements of selling that many sellers ignore. Studies have shown that there is a large generation gap that is frequently present between sellers and buyers. The average age of sellers is nearly 60, while the average age of buyers is 32. This generation gap usually creates a style gap as well. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that most home buyers don’t want to buy “grandma’s house” but often times that is the subconscious feeling they get when they first walk into a home that has not been professionally staged.

Prospective buyers want to purchase a home that fits their lifestyle. Unfortunately, many sellers don’t understand that creating a “lifestyle” means overcoming subconscious emotional objections that a buyer might have. From top to bottom, inside and out, a professional home stager will give you a competitive edge over your competition by presenting your property in a way that will overcome a buyer’s emotional objections. If you are looking to sell your home please keep in mind that home staging is an investment, not an expense. When you compare the cost of home staging to what your first price reduction could be, home staging may well be one of the best investments you will ever make.

Josie Bamber, Professional Home Stager and Owner of Refresh Home Staging & Redesign Inc., incorporates her knowledge of interior decorating, training as a Home Stager and experience in real estate to transform properties into what buyers want. Josie is passionate about bringing out the best in every home at the best price. She believes that every property has the potential to look good. It’s all about having the skill to make this happen.

Josie can be contacted by email at

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My Earlier Efforts Went Awry, This New Report Should Do Better

When I first decided to get going in earnest with internet marketing, I chose to get involved with the Home Staging niche.  I thought I had found a ripe territory where my skills, and expertise would be well received.

As time went on, it became clear to me that while I had a lot to offer, most home stagers weren’t particularly interested.

Now as my initial survey results showed, many home stagers wanted to have more people come to their web sites.  Many also wanted more of those people who did come, to do something.  The want was there. The need was there. But while I had information and “how to” directions I could share that would address both of those needs, for the most part home stagers were not all interested in learning how to manage their own web pages.

I can understand that.  They were too busy with their lives on top of their new business to spend a lot of time learning web site technology.

It’s the problem of being a very small micro business. “If it’s to be done, it’s up to me,” is the owner’s primary reality. And time and inclination run short for most of us.

I know that many home stagers would benefit greatly if only they could afford the time and attention to getting their web sites optimized for the search engines.  I know they would get a lot more customers, if they would offer an ethical bribe as I call it, and follow-up with prospects that opted into their lists. These tactics work in hundreds of other industries and there is no reason why they cannot do the same in home staging.

I also know that once you have your web page optimized for on page factors, it’s just a matter of getting more and better backlinks than your competitors to fight you way to the top of the search engine rankings.  And I can show anyone how to do that, and even in many cases do it for them. And most importantly, I know that getting to that first place ranking is worth the fight.

42% of search engine visitors will click on that top organic listing on Google and the next best place only gets 27%. Most spots on the first page get only 2-5%.  Now 2-5% isn’t bad when you consider the 0% most people on page 2-22 and beyond get.

That’s why I thought my recent ebook on getting listed in the Google 7 pack would be a hit.  Google has been expanding its role in local search over the past few years.  When you search for most small businesses online in your local community, the odds are that the Google Search engine  results will show a local map with dots and flags for the top 7 businesses Google picks for the area.

These appear on page one, and because of the map, they attract a lot of eyes. What surprised me was that when I searched for home stagers and added a city name, I found many places where the full seven possible spots on the Google Places maps were empty, including my hometown of Minneapolis.

So why should I be teaching people how to do organic search, when they can with just a little effort of an hour or so, get themselves on the first page?

As I show in my report called “Getting on the Map” it’s important to fill in your Google Places Listing as completely as possible, but that said. If no one else in your market has bothered, all you need to do is to claim your listing and do at least a half way decent job of filling in the form. You can always go back and edit it in the future.

If your market already has 7 businesses listed, you will need to do a bit more work as I discuss in the report.  You need to get citations and reviews and probably should make sure your Listing Profile is complete, but these are relatively easy tasks. Particularly when the reward is a first page presence on Google.

Secrets to Getting on the Google 7 Pack

Click on Image to Get Your Copy Now!

This report is easy to follow and to apply. It walks you step by step through the process of claiming your Google Places Listing. It’s my most user friendly work to date.

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Homestagers: Get Listed on the Front Page of Google today!

There are now three ways for a local business to get high visibility on Google Searches. You can buy pay per click advertising. You can get highly ranked for organic search. And you can get listed in Google Places, formerly Google Map.

For many home stagers in many markets there is a quick ans easy way to get listed on the front page of Google. And that is via the Google Places Map.

In a quick check of several cities I found few Home Staging firms who have taken advantage of this.  If that’s true in your market, rush on in and get it done. It could mean some extra business for you in the very near future.

Home Stagers Minneapolis

Home Stagers Minneapolis

I have just completed a short report that discusses how to get listed in Google Places. Now some businesses have been automatically included by Google, which is good…but you need to claim that listing as the owner of the company, and then finish filling out the listing form.

If you are not listed on Google Places, you want to be. All it takes is filling out a form. In my report I identify some tips you want to take into account when you fill it out.

Google wants these to be fully filled out, it helps build their data base after all. The more complete the listing form, the more likely your business will get selected to be one of the 7 businesses highlighted in the “7 Pack”

The Google Places listing trumps many businesses who managed to get to the first page of Google using SEO techniques. Usually the top two organic search results still appear above the “Map,” so organic search still is well worth fighting for, but there is a new element to the equation.

Once you have filled in their form, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of getting listed in the 7 pack. I discuss these in the report.

Now I can’t guarantee you will make it to the top 7, but I do guarantee my report. It’s only $9.97 and if you don’t like it for any reason, I offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

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Here’s Some Free Article Marketing Help

Free Article Marketing Help

If you have been following my home staging business tips blog for any length of time, you will know that I am an advocate of article marketing as one of the most effective ways of building your business standing in the search engines.

Effective article marketing can be a major source of traffic to anyone’s website or blog.

In an effort to assist as many people as possible to learn the basics of article marketing I have released a free report called Article Power.

In the report I discuss the two key ingredients of an effective article marketing campaign, namely Quality and Quantity.

I point out that articles generate traffic directly from people who read your articles and also discuss how backlinks from article directories and the republishing of your articles serves to drive search engine traffic to your site as well.

In fact, it’s this backlink power that I appreciate most, as it effectively builds traffic over the long haul.

Of course an effective article marketing campaign needs to be focused on appropriate keywords so I do discuss a bit about keyword selection as well.

The trickiest part of article writing for many people is the creation of their resource boxes, which is the paycheck for an article marketing campaign.

To finish up I list some of the top article marketing sites or directories, and provide a page of resources that could be of value to anyone seriously pursing an article marketing strategy.

As I said above, I am interested in sharing the message of article marketing near and far, so I have included giveaway rights to all who download it. That means you will be able to share it with your friends, your twitter or facebook followers etc.

The resource page includes a variety of affiliate links, so I do hope to make a few bucks here and there as well. But I have also made it possible for you to re-brand this report so that you can earn those commissions.

Get your copy of Article Power now.

Also please let me know what questions or issues you have about article marketing, and I will answer them here in an upcoming post.

Feel free to republish this blog post in its entirety on your blog or newsletter.

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Who Benefits From Home Staging?

Home Staging is a relatively new industry and many people still have a lot of questions about it. Questions like does it really work? Does a staged home really sell faster and for more money? Who benefits from Home Staging? The latest research clearly reveals the effectiveness of Home Staging and you might be quite surprised to find just how many people benefit.

Home Sellers Benefit:

o Staged homes sell faster; an average of 50% faster (and as much as 89% faster; according to a 2008 RESA study).

o Staged homes sell for more money (as much as 10% more). In a recent study 65% of the buyers surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for a home that was move-in ready.

o Home Staging is a great investment and can save home sellers money. A 2007 HomeGain survey found that home staging produced a 340% return on investment. I know allot of people who wouldn’t mind a that kind of return on their investments. Knowing which improvements bring you the greatest return is the key to success.

o Home Staging also helps a seller’s home to make it to buyers top 10 lists of properties to view. According to Maritz 2005-2006 research poll, 58% of buyers made a decision to buy after seeing 10 properties.

o Front yard staging gives a home great curb appeal. 63% of buyers drive by homes before choosing which ones they would like to view. By staging the yard (as well as the home) you will increase the amount of potential buyers that come to view the home.

Realtors® Benefit:

o A staged home photographs well and provides Realtors® with great photos for their internet and print ad advertising. Statistics show that 80% of home buyers preview properties on the Internet. By staging their listings Realtors® stand a better chance of enticing potential buyers to come and view their listings.

o Staging can save Realtors® money. Staged homes have been shown to sell faster than non-staged homes. Fewer days on market not only makes for happy clients but reduces the amount they have to spend on marketing and other listing expenses.

o Staging can help Realtors® to get more listings. Realtors® who consistently have their listings staged distinguish them-selves as an agent who goes above and beyond. Happy home sellers will be more than happy to recommend you others.

o Staged properties receive more viewings.

o Professional stagers act as an objective 3rd party. Many Realtors® are reluctant to tell their clients all the work that should be done to their property in order to fully capitalize on its selling potential. They fear they may somehow offend the client and thus lose the listing. By using the services of a Professional Home Stager (even just a consultation) the Realtor® reduces this risk while at the same time serving the best needs of the client.

Builders & Investors Benefit:

o Staged properties sell 78% faster than un-furnished properties. A faster sale reduces the risk of a price reduction and potentially increasing your profit margin. Home Buyers have a difficult time visualizing how a room would look furnished. People tend to see things as they are not as they could be. It is hard to get an accurate feel for the size of a space without furnishings. A modest investment in Home Staging will not only help the home to sell it helps it to sell faster and often for more money.

o Home builders have long been known to furnish and decorate model homes in order to entice buyers. Traditionally they have hired interior designer or decorators to create their models. But a recent trend has many Home builders and investors hiring home stagers to prepare their models because they are finding it more cost effective.
Home Stagers use rental furniture and accessories. Home builders can save a bundle by not having to out-right purchase all of the required showroom pieces. It also solves the problem of having to store or sell the furnishings and accessories later.

Home Buyers Benefit:

o Home buyers benefit when they purchase a property that has been staged. A properly staged home is often move in ready. Everything is fresh, clean, and in a good state of repair. Decors and up-grades are on trend. Clutter is removed and walls, windows and other fixed assets are easier to view.

Neighbours Benefit:

o When a home sells for maximum value it causes the price of the other homes in the area to go up in price as well. This is because values are usually determined by the average selling price of comparable homes in the area.

Bankers and Appraisers Benefit:

o A home that has been well staged is easier for bankers to lend money on and to appraise it value. Sometimes the appraisals even come in a bit higher meaning the bank will loan more money for the purchase of that property.

Home Inspectors Benefit:

o When a home has been staged it makes it easier for the home inspector to do his/her inspection. A staged home will usually receive a better report from an inspector.

o Many deals have fallen through after an inspection has turned up allot of work and repairs that needs to be done. Once the inspector spots a few red flags he becomes all the more vigilant. If the home is dirty and appears not well keep they tend to presume that the home seller has neglected other repairs as well.

With so many benefits and beneficiaries home staging has never made more sense.

Kimberley Pacholko is a Certified Home Stager, Interior Decorator, Professional Gardener, Garden Designer and owner of White Swan Properties. For more information call (905)-725-7926. Web:

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Geographic Long Tail Keywords in Article Titles, Good or Bad?

I have long preached about the power of what I call geographical long tail keywords.

When you are setting up your web pages for your home staging business or any other locally based business for that matter, you want your page text and the invisible meta tags behind your page to include the key geographical keyword terms appropriate for your market.

This helps the search engine know that your site is and should be shown to people in your area, and will help get your web page to the top of the search engine results for people doing a search in your community.

In smaller markets this alone, when done properly will get you to the first page of results.  However, in most markets you need to go beyond this.

You need to generate backlinks to your site.

One of my favorite ways to do so is through article writing.  I encourage you to create short meaningful articles and post them to article directories. Perhaps the most important of which is

I recently checked them for articles on Homestaging and noted several that included geographical references in their titles.  There’s something good and bad to be said about that idea.

The good first. Article Directories like ezinearticles have high page ranks on their own. An article that includes your town name and home staging in it may well show up on the search engines by itself.

Being a published author online in a Google Search will certainly aid in your perceived credibility in the eyes of the reader, which is certainly good.

The downside is that far fewer newsletter, blog or ezine editors are likely to use the article.  For example in the article below the author lists 5 ways to homestage PEI (Prince Edward Island) real estate.  Since it mentions PEI, its not likely a California or Florida or Australian site on homestaging or realestate is likely to repost it.

People who reprint articles from these directories are not allowed to edit them, and thus most will just pass them by.  I will be the exception as I include it below.

It’s important to understand that the widespread reposting is the primary goal of article marketing.  For each republishing of your article counts in your total backlink tally.  The reason to write articles is to gain this backlink power to raise your ranking on the search engines.  And that would be my focus, so I would tend to say do not put geopraphy in your article titles.

That said, if you have a number of good articles written, it may be worth an experiment to see if you can’t get some of them ranked.

Now what I like about the article below is that the author did create anchor text linking his site to the term PEI real estate.  This will help him rank higher in anyone’s search for that term.

Here’s his article.

5 Ways to Homestage Your PEI Real Estate For Best Sales Opportunities

Home staging involves taking the time and effort and yes, a little bit of expense to ensure that your home is a marketable product and that you get the greatest possible return on your largest PEI real estate investment, your home.

Home staging involves presenting your home in a way to take the focus off the less desirable aspects and focus buyers on the reasons that they would want to buy your home. It involves de-personalizing your home and making it suitable for the maximum number of potential purchasers.

Much of homestaging you can do yourself and in fact might even enjoy doing – however, some aspects may require the services of a professional, especially if anything is in need of repair.

1. Curb Appeal – the outside

Make your home the best looking on the block when potential buyers drive up. Remember, on average, island homes are well looked after, so this might be a “tall order” in your neighborhood. Make sure that paths are swept and in winter snow is cleared and paths are de-iced. In spring, summer and fall make sure that at minimum flowerbeds are cleared of old growth, however if the growing season is right plant some flowering plants. Tidy away garbage bins and any derelict items from around the house, and paint the trim in an attractive, complimentary color.

2. Clean & Clutter Free

The next step is to move indoors and give your home a thorough “spring cleaning”. That means behind the stove and fridge and all the places people don’t see as well as those that they do. Make sure that your home smells fresh. Clean out cupboards and closets of extraneous items. These prohibit the buyers from seeing themselves living in the home. Take the time to de-personalize the rooms as well. Take down family pictures and momentos as these also distract buyers and make the rooms look smaller.

3. Reduce and Arrange

As well as de-cluttering, reduce the amount of furniture in your home and keep only those pieces that suit the decor and are in good condition. Your furniture will also add or detract from how buyers view your home. If you have older furniture that is not in good condition then buy some attractive throws and cover the worst pieces. You should most likely paint unless you did so recently. If your walls are anything other than a muted, pastel shade or white then paint anyway. The more strong or unusual your choice of home decor and colors the greater the need to mute-down your decor.

4. Lighten up

Make sure that during day showings that window coverings are open and during evening showings that as many lights as possible are on. You may want to add a few bright touches in your now muted decor. Choose a potted plant, a nice picture for the wall. a rug – well this is the fun part, right?

5. Security

You are inviting strangers into your home. Make sure that you have removed any items, documents, prescriptions or anything that tells the visitor about you. You do not want them to know anything about you as this could be used in negotiation, ie if a buyer saw a prescription for a certain drug they might know your health issues and realize your need to sell. As you don’t know who is coming through your home, these people may have reasons other than purchasing PEI real estate, so play it safe. On the subject of safe, also make sure that the environment is safe for the buyers too. Ensure there are no obstacles in their path, no potentially dangerous items on display (your gun collection for example), and that your pet(s) are secured.

R. Parker works with local realtors to promote PEI real estate and PEI as a place for people to relocate to. Known as the “Gentle Island”, PEI is known for it’s laid back lifestyle.

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PS: I am still willing to assess your home staging websites SEO status and give you hints on what to do about it.  This involves examining your websites meta tags and on page aspects plus a 20 minute or so consultation.  For the balance of July, I will do this at a discounted rate of $49.  Email me at for more info.

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Use Anchor Text To Improve Search Engine Ranking

Last week I discussed how I use Squidoo as a Search Engine Optimization tool. I explained that you want to get free backlinks to your web site or blog to help lift it toward the top of the search engine rankings.

Squidoo is one of several high ranked authority site where you can create your own content on your topic and create your own backlinks. What I neglected to focus on in my last post was the need for and how to create what are called anchor text or anchor tags.

Anchor texts are backlinks that have been coded with the url of the destination we want people to go to. We do this for the practical reason of making it clear to the reader and to the Google Bots not only where to go but why.

For example, a home stager may want to get their web site to appear on the top of the search engines when someone searches for the term San Francisco Home Staging. They could just enter their url in a Squidoo page and anyone who visits the site will be able to click on the link and go to the site. So will the search engine bots.

The search bots will note that the backlink exists, and will give it some credit depending on the value the attribute to the the site where they found it.

A better course of action, (and the point of this post) would be to use a keyword you want to rank for rather than your url as the link.

For example, if Mary Jane lived and did home staging in my home town of Minneapolis, she might choose to type in the link as “Minneapolis Home Staging” and then highlight those words and then insert a link on those words. In most browsers, the words Minneapolis Home Staging would appear blue, and most people would know that it was a clickable link.

On most text editors you will often find a small image of a linked chain, which serves as a tool to create links on the selected text.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy on Squidoo,  so you need to learn a tiny bit of HTML code to create your anchor text.

Here is the HTML format for an anchor text.

<a href=””>Minneapolis Home Staging</a>

Lets look at this more closely so we can understand what’s happening.  It’s not hard.

The <a href=”  is the actual HTML code that tells a computer that a link is to follow. In this case, we are telling the computer that we want the link to connect with

We let the computer know we are done with our url, by adding a end guote and closing arrow. ie  “>

Next we have our keyword that we want to be our anchor text.  Again in this case it’s Minneapolis Home Staging.

Then we tell the computer that we are done with all of out HTML code by ending with </a>

You will note that the code started with an <a  and ends with a </a>

This convention is used throughout HTML.

Once we have done this, the people reading our Squidoo Lens will know that MaryJanesHomeStaging serves Minneapolis. More importanly, the search engine robots will learn that is about Minneapolis Home Staging.  Now when someone goes to Google or another search engine and searches for a Minneapolis Home Stager, the search engines will know that MaryJanes site is one they should list.

The more backlinks associated with the anchor tect Minneapolis Home Staging that Mary Jane is able to establish on Squidoo and elsewhere, the more likely Mary Janes site will be ranked toward the top of the search engines.

HTML is actually relatively easy to learn, and very helpful in many different applications.  I have a good HTML Guide for those who want to learn more.

But whether you wish to learn HTML your self or not, you do want to understand that using sites like Squidoo and others can be a powerful way to move your web site to the top of the search engines.  The advantage of sites like Squidoo is that you can generate free back links from a high ranked site.

When you create your own links you have control, and can use the anchor text of your choosing to in essence Brand your web site to appear in the search engines on the keywords you use as your anchor text.

Please let me know if you have any additional questions on this topic or any other by leaving a comment on the blog.  It was a comment there that generated this post.

Anchor text are not limited to Squidoo, its just that to make the maximum use of Squidoo, you do need to learn how to do a little bit of extra work. Once you learn how, it’s a piece of cake.

Click here to get my Squidoo eBook.

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Homestaging Your Home to Sell Faster and for More Money

Homestaging is the latest trend in marketing and selling your home. Most savvy and experienced real estate agents will be familiar with homestaging- sometimes called “fluffing”. It can be as simple as your qualified real estate agent coming in and advising you to remove clutter, change a too bright paint color or remove out-of-date- wall paper. It can also be as involved as hiring a professional accredited Home Staging professional who will help your home give the best first impression on potential home buyers while not breaking. Typically it will mean re-painting your home in more neutral and more sell-able colors. Removing or replacing art work, family pictures and personal objects. Buyers like to see a “clean” palette and picture their own items- and home staging makes it easier.

Tidy Every Room in the House

Check counters, floors, closets, halls and stairs. Make beds; straighten or remove newspapers, magazines, mail, toys, clothing, recreation gear, drinking glasses and dishes.


Lots of light will show off your home- turn on all the lights, even in daytime.
Open all the blinds- will show views, make rooms look larger and add sunlight to the rooms.

Kitchen and Bathroom

Make sure bathroom and kitchen gleam! In the kitchen have counters as clear as possible, put away crockpot, toaster oven and blender. Clear and wipe down all counters and appliances. Have dishwasher emptied. Scrub out the sink – scrub faucet and edges with toothbrush and soak bleach in sink – you will be shocked how much better your kitchen will look will look!
Flowers are a nice touch- use fragrant flowers such as roses, freesia or lilies.

Straighten washcloths and towels; replace with fresh, decorative ones if possible. Clean the sink and wipe down counters. Use clean smelling room freshener- avoid anything to sweet or cloying.

Get Rid of Clutter

I can’t emphasize this is enough- DECLUTTER. Get rid of stacks of magazines on coffee table, the pile of kid’s crafts on the microwave and bowl of change on the front hall table. You may have to go to extremes and pack up the bulk of your belonging and consider putting then in storage if space as an issue. You do not want to give the slightest hint that you home is too small, cramped or over stuffed!

Think of it as buyers mentally moving their own things into a home. If a home has too much or too little in it, it is hard for most buyers to visualize how their own belongings things will look in your home. There are many do-it-yourself web sites that specialize in way to help you get your home ready for sale. Of course, when selling your home- you want to keep your costs as low as possible and see a return on your home staging investment. Your real estate agent can help! They know what sells and what doesn’t. Good Luck selling your home!

LJ Stewart worked in interior design business for several years and now works as freelance business writer and consultant to small businesses. For more information on homestaging and tips for selling your home please visit LeaJensen.comMississauga MLS Listings and top selling Mississauga and Oakville Real Estate Agent

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Whose Twittering Home Staging?

Here are some recent Twitter Tweets  related to home staging I noted today. If you use twitter for home staging, please leave a comment about how its going for you in the comment section.

Virtual Staging Or Just Misleading Pictures?: If you’re a home stager, depending on what email lists you …

By sunriseled at 06/18/2010 21:56

By usacommunity at 06/18/2010 21:18

By UnitedCarolina at 06/18/2010 20:54

By StagedByGabi at 06/18/2010 20:11

By DeanaStyle at 06/18/2010 19:18

By LivingAirpurifi at 06/18/2010 19:55

By talkshoppetn at 06/18/2010 18:43

By CrazRealEstate at 06/18/2010 16:37 The Key to Successful Home Staging: Communication – Jaime’s Blog …: The key to successful h…

By home_stagingGA at 06/18/2010 15:15

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Technorati Tags: home stager, Home Staging, Home Staging tips, Twitter, Twitter Tweets

A Plug in to Build Comments and Back Links

One of the plug ins I am sure to add to all my blogs is one called “CommentLuv.”

The default setting in Word Press blogs is to not link back to those people who comment on your blog. The Comment Luv plug in overrides this and creates a link to the last blog post of anyone who takes the time to comment on your blog.  This serves to encourage people to make comments and helps you get a conversation going with your blog viewers which is good.

You want to stimulate these conversations any way you can, and frankly it’s not easy to get your lurkers to speak up.

The advantage for the commenter is that this is a backlink to their blog and as such helps with their ranking in the search engines.  I routinely visit and comment on a half dozen or more blogs almost every day.  When I do, I not only support the worthwhile blogs I visit, but help myself out by generating new back links to my various blogs.

As a homestager, you should seek out other home stagers blogs to read and to get ideas for your own blog posts. Encourage them to install the CommentLuv plug in so that you get the back links you need to build your sites rankings.

If you can find a half dozen or more non active rain blogs to visit on a regular basis and get them to return the favor your activities will help encourage other people to comment on the blogs and will over time build you a ton of back links which will raise your site to the top of the search engines in time, and keep you there if you already have the dominant ranking in your market.

You can access the CommentLuv plug in from within the plugin section of your blog or search for it in Google or other search engines.

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Bolster Your Blog with Ezine Articles

Over the past few weeks I have posted several articles on this blog that I got directly from  You can do the same thing.  It’s easy and it’s free.

Just go to and look for the article search tool in the left column.  For this blog, I just type in Home Staging and I usually can find a half dozen new article every week or so to consider adding to this blog. You can do the same thing for almost any niche market.

When doing so, there is one hard and fast rule that you must follow. You need to use the entire article as written, including the author’s resource box at the end.

Now sometimes I will add my own content before or after the article to explain why I used the article or to comment on the issues it raises, but this is optional. As long as you include their entire content, you are fine.

The author of the article gets several benefits from the process.  In fact if you go back in this blog, I have written extensively on why you should write articles of your own to achieve these same benefits, to wit..

They are more likely to be perceived as an expert in their field.  People who see the article may want to learn more and will follow the link in the resource box back to their site.  More importantly in many cases, is that the little bots the search engines like Google and Yahoo will follow these links, even if no once else does and record it as a back link.

Back links help raise your sites relative ranking in the search engines. And the higher your page shows up in a Google search in your market, the more likely your site will get seen, and in turn the more likely you will get new business.

Now by promoting someone else’s article from another marketplace 100’s or thousands of miles away will not interfere with your own local rankings, so there is no reason not to help them and yourself by posting their article.

You get to add worthwhile content to your blog with minimal effort. And the regular addition of content is a major component to successful blogging. Your readers get worthwhile content consistent with your overall topic and are thus more likely to continue to monitor and read you other offerings.

Some blogs are all borrowed content, but I prefer to write my own material and intersperse articles from article directories as a supplement. But the mix of original and “borrowed” content is up to you.

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of article directories online that you can find article on. I’ve personally had best success with ezinearticles, but if you want to search for others just type in a good keyword for your industry and then add the word article directories and you will find many more.

One last tidbit. If you are interested in learning how to monetize your blogging efforts, so that they become a profit center on their own, you may want to get a copy of my blogging mentors new eBook called Profitable Blog Steps.   I write a bit about it in another blog of mine called A Profitable Blog

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How to Set Up a Profitable Blog

Many home stagers will try to add a blog to their website and that’s a good idea. It can help drive traffic to your site, and help you build credibility and earn your main site some good “Google Juice.”

Unfortunately while blogging is relatively easy once you have it set up, there are many steps to doing so, and even more if you want to establish a profitable blog.

My personal blogging mentor, Mike Paetzold has just released a wonderful new product called Profitable Blog Steps.   In it he provides a comprehensive ten module step by step plan to get your blog up and running, and specifically covers the key steps to make yours a profitable blog.

Not only does he tell you what to do, he shows you in a series of 10 videos.

If you are interested in setting up a profitable blog look no further. Grab this now, as Mike is offering a special launch week discount to those willing to take fast action. This special deal expires on June 9th, so do yourself a favor and grab it now.

To learn more and profit more  get your own copy go to Profitable Blog Steps now!

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Technorati Tags: a profitable blog, Mike Paetzold, profitable blog, profitable blog steps, profitable blog topics, profitable blogging, profitable blogs

Home Staging – How Much Does it Cost, and Does it Work?

The Benefits Of Home Staging.

One of the hottest trends to sell a home today is home staging, an interior decorating technique for making the most of your home’s attributes and making it more appealing to the widest array of potential buyers. Home staging has been known to boost home sales prices, as well as quicken the amount of time the home stays on the market. But the question is – What is the pricing for home staging-and is it worth it?

Preparing Your Home for Sale.

Most sellers realize the importance of cleaning up their home before putting it on the market. Things like fixing leaky sinks, mending cracks in the walls and completing other minor repairs are also pretty standard. These things are often good to do, and, in many ways, are considered forms of “staging,” or preparing your home for sale.

What Do Home Stagers Do?

There are professionals, however, who will go above and beyond what most homeowners think of when they go to sell their house. While decorating is geared toward the owner, Home Staging is aimed first and foremost at pleasing the biggest possible number of buyers. For a fee, these home stagers will come into your home and use your existing items. Or, bring in items that add that special touch to complete a room and make your house as attractive as possible. Home staging costs often include moving around, removing or adding furniture and adding tasteful artwork or other decoration to make your home really shine.

Staging – Is It Worth It?

The main benefit of hiring a professional to stage your home is that they will look at your surroundings with an experienced, tasteful and objective buyer’s eye. They won’t be attached to a souvenir plate collection, like the homeowner would. They will be able to come in and tell you which items should be removed, what should be added, and how best to feature your home.

While home staging may seem like an unnecessary expense, there probably isn’t a single house that couldn’t benefit from a bit of carefully manipulated staging. Only a mere 10% of home buyers can actually visualize living in your home, or your homes hidden potential. This is why having a vacant home staged is so important. Buyers cannot visualize size and scale, so furniture helps to give them a frame of reference.

Why Can’t I Just Stage My Own Home?

Home owners have gotten used to the way their home looks and in fact it is difficult emotionally to change it. If you can’t view something objectively then you are unable to market and package it effectively. Not to mention, most home sellers don’t stage homes everyday for a living. Staging is more than a “to-do” list, de-cluttering, and painting. Its about decorating a home for potential buyers. Home Stagers, rearrange, shop the home, and pull items from other rooms, to create a whole new look to rooms. It takes a designers eye, to pull the rooms together. And often, suggestions and changes from professionals can amount to significant increases in the bottom line profit when selling your home.

Will My House Sell If It’s Not Staged?

Eventually, every house will sell…it’s just a matter of when and for how much. Even if your house sells quickly in a good market, it doesn’t mean it sold for the amount it would have sold for had it been professionally staged.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost?

Having your home staged, doesn’t cost a fortune. It’s the most inexpensive way to achieve the most dramatic and profitable results. Home staging pricing runs from $200+ depending on the market you’re in. According to a 2003 Survey, by Home Gain, statistics showed an average of a 6+% increase in the final sales price on homes that had been staged, versus those that had not. On a $300,000 home, that’s a $18,000 increase! And well worth the low cost of home staging fees.

To find out how to best showcase your home for sale, contact a home staging professional or your local realtor. Many realtor’s will even offer home staging services as part of their listing package, so be sure to ask if that’s something they offer, or if they can recommend someone in the industry. If you’re willing to put out a bit of money up front, you just might find that the benefits from staging your home can greatly outweigh home staging costs. In the end, Home Staging is really a no risk, win-win situation for everyone involved!

Cindy Bryant – Owner of Redesign Etc. a Home Staging & Interior Redesign Service. Serving Houston’s Bay & Gulf Coast. Featured on ABC Houston, The Houston Chronicle, Live Talk Radio, and author.

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Home Staging – Questions and Answers

Here is another good example of a home stager using article marketing to promote not only her occupation, but also her designation and her particular business. etn

Question: Do I really need to stage my house?

Answer: Home staging is recommended to homeowners who are serious about selling their house in the shortest amount of time. Think of this scenario: Two comparable houses are for sale in the same general area. House A was staged and is in prime showing condition. House B was not staged and may have some design issues. Which house do you think buyers will be more interested in? Statistics show us that homes which are professionally prepared for the real estate market sell in one-third less time than non-staged houses.

Question: My Realtor told me to wait to stage, is this good advise?

Answer: The sooner you stage your house, the better it will be for you. If your agent told you to not stage or to wait to stage, your Realtor may not have a complete understanding about the value of home staging. Some agents are concerned about recommending more out-of-pocket expenses for their clients. It is a noble concern but not a necessary one when considering home staging. Stagers work with real estate agents as a team, and most stagers will be happy to answer any questions that Realtors may have regarding the staging process. Realtors may not know it, but stagers may be their greatest asset in the marketing of a client’s home.

Question: How do I choose a stager?

Answer: There are many things to look for when choosing a stager. Before you hire a stager, consider these qualifications:

  • Look for credentials. A good stager will be professionally trained in staging and design principles.
  • Ask for references. An experienced stager will have references and a photo gallery of personal projects.
  • Interview your stager. Most staging businesses are independently owned and will operate differently from each other.

Question: Can I stage my own house? or Can I have my friend stage my house?Answer: It is best to use an independent staging consultant who has an objective view of your home. Professional stagers are specifically trained to find and remove the obstacles that could interfere with the sale of your house. Homeowners and friends who are familiar with a house may find it difficult to apply staging and design principles to areas in which they are emotional attached.

Question: Doesn’t staging cost a lot of money?

Answer: Staging, like any quality service, is not free. Staging costs may range anywhere between $100 for a consultation evaluation to $2500 for full staging services, (Actual costs vary depending upon company pricing and location.) Think of the cost of staging as an investment in your home that will save you time and money when your house is listed. Statistically, the investment of staging a house has a return of approximately 120%; (for a $1000 staging project, a homeowner may see $1200 return when they sell their home. Statistics cited from, with permission). The bottom line is that your investment in staging will usually be less than the first price reduction on your home! Can you really afford to not stage your house?

Question: Isn’t staging and decorating the same thing?

Answer: No. Staging and decorating are on different ends of the spectrum. Staging uses proven techniques that creates an emotional response in buyers; thus generating greater buyer interest. Interior decorating uses design principles and decor to display the homeowners individual tastes and styles. When you decide to sell your home, personal styles will need to be set aside to make your house appealing to the most amount of buyers.

Question: How do I get started?

Answer: Ask your Realtor if their agency provides staging services or stager referrals. Otherwise, to find an Accredited Staging Professional in your area, visit Staged Homes.

Your home may be the biggest investment that you make in your lifetime. When you are ready to list your home, do not sell your investment short. A properly prepared home will sell in the shortest amount of time while commanding the highest offers. For more information on staging visit KFM Staging & Design.

Kristina, owner of KFM Staging & Design, is an Accredited Staging Professional and has been working with Realtors, builders, and homeowners in the Twin Cities for over ten years. KFM Staging & Design specializes in consulting as a real estate expert, performing vacant and occupied staging services, and working with re-design clients.

For more information of staging, visit:

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Technorati Tags: Home Staging, Kristina Mosloski, Picking a Stager, Realtor, Staged Homes

Build Your Blog or Newsletter with This

If you want to get some ideas and materials to jump start your own home staging blog you might want to take advantage of what is called PLR in the industry.  PLR or private label rights material is similar to the generic drugs you get at the pharmacy or the “House Brand” can of peas you might get at the supermarket.  You buy them and you have the rights to use them as your own.

In particular I want to point to a package created by Affiliate Niche Research on Home decor.  For the price of a good dinner, you get a ton of useful information that could get you started online, and or supplement your existing material in your blog or newsletter.

Go to Affiliate Niche Research to check out this package. Limited time deal. Once these are fully subscribed they disappear, once past the time limit and they disappear.

Susanne does great work, but keep in mind its a start, not a finished product. You need to take the material and make it your own. Add your insights and specialized knowledge. That way it is your comments and value added. This is just the preliminary research that will give you a ton of ideas and save you hours of work.

Make the First 30 Seconds Count

Whether you are making your pitch to a prospect to be their home stager in person, in a brochure, online or in a talk to a local Kiwanis club, you must communicate your entire pitch in the first 30 seconds or less.  Otherwise, you will lose a significant percentage of your prospects attention.

In 1986 Milo Frank wrote a short book called, “How to get your point across in 30 seconds or less.”

This idea applies to personal presentations, articles, speeches and other presentations.

That’s not to say everything needs be communicated in that 30 seconds, but the key concept, justification and call to action, can and should be.

Below this article you will find a link to Amazon where you can buy the book if you want to read his justification and suggested techniques to accomplish this seemingly extravagant goal.

I want you to consider applying the idea to all of  your promotional materials and to your stock presentation, starting today, because you need to if you are going to get your message across before your reader skips past your article and goes on to the next.

Already, 10-20% of the people who started to read this article have stopped and gone elsewhere. This is particularly easy to do online.

Even “hot” media like videos get clicked past at an alarmingly fast rate. Tube Mogul, the video service which makes its business by monitoring and quantifying video viewers behavior, indicates that fully 50% or more of video viewers click away from the average video within 30 seconds. Twelve percent are gone in the first ten seconds.

The attention span of the general public has been short for a long time. No wonder politics is done in 10 second sound bites. And that reality applies to you and your articles and even in person presentations as well.

That doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to develop your thoughts in detail. It just means that you need to grab their attention and tell them what you are going to tell them and what they should do about it in your introduction up front. And don’t be too disappointed if a lot of people don’t read your entire article, or skip past your website without reading it all.

Just imagine how many more have left the written word in the same amount of time compared to a video presentation. Now some of that is probably because the viewer discovered that the video was not relevant to their interests and or needs.

As such, maybe we shouldn’t get too upset that they left before we get around to our point. But it could be that they made a mistake. Had they waited they may have discovered our cleverly designed plot to draw them into our proposition was just what they needed. If only they would have waited to see or read our sales pitch and dynamite close.

If you really want your readers to get your point, make it upfront and quick. Elaborate and explain in depth later to those hangers on who are interested in more detail.

How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less

Technorati Tags: marketing tips, Milo Frank, presentations, speeches

How to Combine Creativity With Business

Below is a good article by Karen Schaefer. I particularly like the comment she makes about naming your company, which is particularly applicable if you want to be found online in a Google Search.  Her USP is also a key concept. You must have a great one that you can use to communicate with prospective buyers in an instant. There is no law against using hers for your own, but you may well be able to come up with a better one for yourself.

And once again, look at the free publicity I  just provided her. All because she wrote a good article. I am sure I will not be the only one reprinting this. This gives her traffic to her site, credibility and more.   You should be doing the same to promote your business.  -etn

How to Combine Creativity With Business
By []Karen S Schaefer

The number one request that I get from all of my clients, whether they are from my Home Staging Training Company, Marketing and Networking Business, one of my Speaking Clients, all of them, are always looking for a way to be more creative, or at least add more creativity to their marketing efforts and effectively combine it with business. For some reason, we have been conditioned that the two don’t go together… but they MUST!

Over the years, people have constantly told me how “Creative or Imaginative” I am. Funny, I never thought of myself as such, but I am a self-professed dreamer, and I love letting my imagination run wild…which can be good, and of course, bad as well!

But, I think ultimately that you have to have a set foundation in every type of business, no matter what it is. You have to have a solid vision, a way to implement the plan or vision, have a strong team, a goal or intention and of course the marketing, direction and management to make it happen.

Rarely can this happen without a “Creative Department.” Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of an entire department, so it is up to YOU to be the Creative Leader of your Business, so that your Business is presented as a Creative, Productive, and Effective Company to your Client.

As Home Stagers, we all have a natural inclination toward creativity. Most of you explore that creativity each time you do a staging job. I know I do because it is almost a release for me. It is a creative outlet, a way to vent any frustration, and it also allows me to constantly flex my creativity muscle. I am able to in turn get better each time (and most importantly, offer more creative advice every time to my nationwide team of APSD Certified Home Stagers).

But, in business, we can’t simply be creative in what we do; we have to be creative in what we say and how we present ourselves and our services. In other words, your Marketing must be creative if you want to stand out from the crowd and catch the attention of your potential client.

That is why the first thing I always teach all of my clients is:

1) Name: What is the name of your company or Service? Does it say what you do and where you do it?
I know you are thinking, “Karen, to just say ‘Los Angeles Home Staging’ is boring. I want to say ‘A feather in your cap Sales.'”

Now, I would agree that the ‘Feather in your Cap’ is far more creative, but it does not tell me anything. When you come up with a name, people will search under categories, which is why, in this instance something “practical” comes in handy.

Even today, if I were naming my own Home Staging Company again, I would not name it Simple Appeal. I love the name, and it speaks to me, but for people that don’t know me, they are only going to search for Home Staging Services in Colorado-not Simple Appeal.

2) USP- Once you have figured out your name, now is your chance to be creative. A USP is a “Unique Selling Proposition.” Sometimes you can use this as a tag line, like I do, “Anybody can make your Property pretty, we make it Sell” or as a unique way to capture the attention of your customer. In other words, use your creativity, and figure out a way to say something about your service or business that makes you more compelling than any other person in your industry in the eyes of your client.

The best way to approach this, which you many already know if you follow me on Twitter, is to tell your client what they WANT to hear vs. what they NEED to hear. And say it in such a way that makes them think “I HAVE to have it!”

You can have so much fun with this and when you hit the nail on the head, your lead generation will explode. It is the perfect way to combine creativity with business.

3) Position- So, now you have a name that opens up the door for good and easy search criteria. You then have mustered up all of your creative resources and developed an extraordinary USP. So, you have burst open the door on your new lead generation. Now, you have to correctly and effectively position yourself in the market place so that you can convert those leads into sales, thus increasing your business’s bottom line.

My USP, “Anybody can make your House look Pretty, we make it Sell” is not only a great USP, but it also offers me great positioning in my market place. It is good marketing. The reason that I chose this USP is that I wanted to position myself in the market place as the Home Stager that actually knew how to stage a home so it would sell. I did not want to just be about decorating, accessorizing or rearranging…I wanted to be about results.

So, what you have to do… once again is be creative. What do you want to say about your business? And, how do you want them to envision you and your services?

All of these steps require creativity and with that, you will find that new doors will readily open for your business. The key to success is to combine your creativity with your business skills, because although they can each stand alone, the fact of the matter is that you could increase your business 10 fold over night by adding just one effective touch of creativity. And, let’s face the facts; it sure is whole lot more fun to be creative!

Keep in mind that creative marketing and positioning is just good business. So for those of you that immediately assume you are not good at business, by implementing the 3 steps above, you will now be 3 “business” steps ahead of any other Home Stager in your area.

In the future, I will offer a business program, but for now, follow the information above and you will be amazed at the results.

To your greatest joy,

Karen Schaefer

Founder, APSD

Your Worldwide Leader in Home Staging Training

By Karen Schaefer, Founder of Simple Appeal, Inc. and APSD – The Association of Property Scene Designers. Through Karen, you can learn more about []home staging, []marketing houses and selling houses quickly.

Article Source: [] How to Combine Creativity With Business

Technorati Tags: Article Marketing, Company Name, USP

Fear of Loss More Powerful than Fear of Gain

Have you been listening in?

Last night was the second session of the League of Extraordinary Minds, and what a great two hours it was.

While you as a home stager might not think that the internationally famous panelists that are participating in the program have anything to offer a small business like yours, you would be wrong.

I took a ton of notes last night, and got a lot of actionable ideas in the process. One I will share with you today is the understanding that people buy emotionally, and that they are motivated more by fear of loss than by hope of gain.

As an example a person is far more likely to take action to avoid suffering a $20 loss than they would be to gain $20.

What this may mean to a home stager, is that your clients are more likely to respond to a pitch that focuses on their risk of having to pay double mortgage payments, than they are to the hope of getting a higher price from a well staged home.

They may similarly respond to a pitch that details all the work they will have to do by themselves and the drudgery entailed rather than to the freedom they may enjoy by letting you do it for them.

That doesn’t mean the positive doesn’t matter, but rather that the loss elements are more effective in selling your services.

Now there was a lot more that I pulled out of last night, but I thought I would share that one.  It’s up to you to think about how you could apply that knowledge in your own interactions with prospects.

Replays of the League of Extraordinary Minds sessions are not available, as they are being turned into paid products.  But you are able to sign up and listen in to the remaining sessions for free, if you register at League of Extraordinary Minds. The next session is at 8PM, your time, next Thursday, no matter where in the world you are.

I encourage you to register and to listen in.  There have been two sessions so far and 7 to go. The first two have been very powerful, and have lead me to make several changes to the way I do things.  I am confident that you too will find value in each of them as well.

Internet Marketing 101 for Non Internet Based Businesses

Push the Arrow to Hear the 1 hour 2 minute presentation.
Internet Marketing 101 for Main Street Businesses

Last week I did an hour long presentation for Allegra Dioguardi’s new home staging curriculum.   Staging Training by Design

In it I covered three different major topics. The first section dealt with some basic decisions most people make before they have enough information to do well. That includes picking their url, web host and decision as to whether to have a blog or web site.

The second topic covered includes a discussion of how to make your web site more search engine friendly and also how to generate back links need to raise your standing in the search engines.

The third section, dealt with how to get more of the people that find your web site to do something.

These are topics I’ve dealt with before, here and in my two eBooks.  My challenge was to condense all the information into a single 60 minute presentation. Turns out I ran about 2 minutes long.

But if I say so myself, I did a pretty good job of covering all the major points you should be aware of when setting up your internet marketing campaign for your business.

Now while I would advocate that most people should learn how to manage and run their own web sites, the reality is that most will not. Therefore I discussed these topics so that people would know what they wanted to accomplish, so that they would be better equipped to tell their computer people what they wanted, and why.

Thus while the conversation was directed to home stagers specifically, the comments apply to almost any locally based business wishing to attract more customers by internet marketing.

In support of the audio, I have created a resource page of links and resources.  It is pretty rudimentary at the moment, but I will be developing it as time goes on.

Resource Page

Technorati Tags: Internet marketing, Must Know Internet Marketing Concepts

Blogging Topics

Yesterday we talked a bit about the “Inspection” blog post. Today we will cover “Insights” and the “Index” type of post.

2. The INSIGHTS Blog Post.

Quick tips are great “in between” posts since they are so short. They are normally between 100 and 250 words. If there’s a great bit of information that you want to share with your niche but it doesn’t really warrant a full blog post, you can post a quick tip. The tip should be focused on one key area of the niche. For example, “How to Grease a Muffin Pan” is a perfect quick tip article for a cooking blog.

For a home stager, it could be on Where to store valuables during a house showing, or How to dress up your front door.

If you put you mind to it you could probably generate a list of 50 such tips in no time. Write the titles down, and use them for infill when you are busy.

The third I is for “Index” which is just another word for a list.

Blog readers love lists! If you’ll look at the most popular blogs you’ll see that they make good use out of this type of blog posts. You can make lists fit any niche topic imaginable. They are great ways to convey information online because they can easily be scanned by web readers who like to skim over information.

You can create resource lists that will help your readers find information on your niche. You can also create lists of different ways to accomplish a goal in a niche, like “5 Things to Do Before a Showing.” The possibilities are endless.

How about a list of things to do, room by room? Or perhaps a list of X things to pack away before you begin to stage their house.

Technorati Tags: Homestaging Tips, Tips, What to write

Five Different Kinds of Blogs and Blog Posts

Five Different “Kinds” Of Blog Posts

Blog posts come in many different forms and lengths. If you want to keep your blog fresh and interesting, you should post often. Creating different types of blog posts will help to keep your audience interested. It will also keep you from getting bored with your blog.

Blogging can be done as an adjunct to your business, to help attract customers or it can be a sideline of your business designed to generate revenue, as well as attract customers to your Home Staging enterprise.

If you are going to invest time and effort on your blog, why not use it as a profit center as well?

The five types of blog post are the
1. The INSPECTION Blog Post.
2. The INSIGHTS Blog Post.
3. The INDEX Blog Post.
4. The INTERVIEW Blog Post.
5. The INSTRUCTION Blog Post.

1. The INSPECTION Blog Post.

Review blog posts can help you monetize your blog. You “inspect” – take a closer look at – a product. When you review a product and include an affiliate link, you’ll make a commission off of each sale generated with your affiliate link.  Review blog posts should go over some of the major plusses and minuses of the product. Even if you loved the product, you should keep your review balanced by mentioning a few things that could have been improved. Your audience will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to trust your recommendation.

What type of a product could you as a home stager comment on?  How about paints, cleaning products, furniture stores, etc.

While there is no reason why you couldn’t do a blog on any vendor you choose to without compensation, why not find a product that has an “Affiliate Program” and join it.

One of the easiest ways to identify such products is to join one of the major affiliate market places like Commission Junction.  It’s free to join, and once you do, you will be able to search from thousands of vendors to find products relevant to Home Staging that you could review and comment on.

Such recommendations, if done honestly and forthrightly will be well received by your readers, and could potentially add a new revenue source to your business.  Not a bad idea to market yourself and make money at the same time.

To learn more about commission junction go to

In the next couple of days I will go into more detail on this and the other four types of blog posts.  By combining these ideas you can add a lot of reader interest in your blogs.

2. The INSIGHTS Blog Post.

Quick tips are great “in between” posts since they are so short. They are normally between 100 and 250 words. If there’s a great bit of information that you want to share with your niche but it doesn’t really warrant a full blog post, you can post a quick tip. The tip should be focused on one key area of the niche. For example, “How to Grease a Muffin Pan” is a perfect quick tip article for a cooking blog.

3. The INDEX Blog Post.

Blog readers love lists! If you’ll look at the most popular blogs you’ll see that they make good use out of this type of blog posts. You can make lists fit any niche topic imaginable. They are great ways to convey information online because they can easily be scanned by web readers who like to skim over information. You can create resource lists that will help your readers find information on your niche. You can also create lists of different ways to accomplish a goal in a niche, like “5 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Sales Letter.” The possibilities are endless.

4. The INTERVIEW Blog Post.

Although these require a bit of preparation, they can be very valuable to your blog. You can interview someone in your niche and share the results of the interview with your blog readers. This will not only help provide valuable content for your blog, but you can also get more traffic to your blog. Likely, the person who you are interviewing will publicize the event on their blog and around the ‘net which will bring more traffic back to you.

5. The INSTRUCTION Blog Post.

Like quick tips, how to posts help you provide valuable information to your readers. However, unlike quick tips, these posts go into detail on a certain topic. Some how to posts are even separated out into two or three part courses. For ideas on what to create how to posts about, look at the most frequently asked questions in your niche and develop posts around those topics.

How to Set Up Your Resource Box for Effect

When you repost a blog post or active rain post on an article directory like you are allowed to attach a resource box to the bottom of your article. Anyone can republish your article for free if they agree to include your resource box.

When preparing your resource box, you are generally allowed two links that you can direct as you choose. It’s important to use anchor text for these links based on the keyword you want your destination site(s) to rank for.

Particularly if your goal is to build your search engine standing as well as generate traffic.

Anchor text is simple html code that creates a hyper link to the web site you want people to go, while displaying your anchor text. Your anchor text should be the keyword you want your site to rank for.

One of my newest clients is a home stager in Tampa Florida. The keyword she wants to rank high on for her business is “Home Staging” and “Tampa” or “Home staging in Tampa”

So to maximize the value of her resource box I advised her to use the following statement:

Ann Alderson is an expert at <* href=””>Home Staging in the South Tampa region. You can get more information on home staging on her blog about <* href=””> house staging tips.

[Insert a letter “a” where the * are to appear as

When placed in html code it reads as follows: Ann Alderson is an expert at Home Staging in the South Tampa region. You can get more information on home staging on her blog about house staging tips.

In this case, we used the second anchor text to use an alternate keyword, “house staging” and sent traffic to her blog. This creates a back link to an internal part of her site which improves its standing in Google’s eyes. Google likes links to internal pages as it shows there is interest in more than the front page of the site.

As we’ve discussed before, the three main reasons to do article marketing is to establish yourself as an expert in your field, drive traffic to your site and build back links to raise your standing in the search engines.

In Ann’s case, the articles may help establish her credentials and even send a few people from Tampa to her web site. But most people who see her articles will be far from her marketplace.

More important to her is the knowledge that the Google bots and other search bots will find her site and rank it for the keywords she wants her site known for: home staging and house staging and Tampa.

Most of her competitors are not doing this, and as a result in the relatively near term, she should rise from her current relative obscurity in a highly competitive local market to the first page of the listings. In time with additional articles and other postings she may even win the coveted top spot.

That is the power of Article Marketing and the proper use of anchor text and keywords in your resource box.

6 Tips for Better Articles

Our recent series that started out as an investigation into how to get your business web site to the top of the local search engine rankings has brought us to the topic of article marketing.

This is an important topic on its own. So much so that I have started a new web site dedicated to the topic called Article Marketing Hints.

Actually the web site is because someone beat me to the punch and grabbed the url with the extra s on the end.

My most recent post there discusses 6 tips for writing better articles. I encourage you to stop on over and read the article.  I will continue to develop that site with more and more articles on article writing.

Note that I created two back links above. One as anchor text and the other as a straight url, so you would know how to get to the site. I used the plural in the anchor text as I want to be found when people use both the singular and the plural forms.

When you go to the site you will see an eBook for sale in the right sidebar.  If you were to look at the offer by clicking on the image of the book, you will discover that I am offering a bonus video series with the book. This series offers some excellent tips on how to write effective articles in an easy to follow video format.

It’s very well done and useful for newbie and intermediate article marketers.  I know I learned a trick or two.

The ebook is written by Mike Steup.  Mike is one of the young up and comers in the internet marketing arena. He shares a number of insights that will certainly help you get going on the right track as you begin to promote your business with internet marketing.

Technorati Tags: anchor text, Article Marketing Hints, ArticleMarketingHint, back links

Distilling Fine Articles from the Fruit of Your Mind

Internet Article Marketing

Distilling Fine Articles from the

Fruits of Your Mind

You have decided to use the power of internet article marketing to draw eyes and back links to your web site. Good idea. Article marketing can be a very effective tool to accomplish both objectives. But where do you start?

Good Question.

Just as a distillery needs to first gather grapes and then run them though a series of steps before turning them into a fine brandy, you must first gather your ideas, before you write your article.

Before you begin

Whether you are brewing a single article or a series of them, the prerequisite is deciding what your topic is, and understanding why you are writing.

Your writing will enjoy greater clarity of purpose when each article has a clear singular keyword or phrase. Whether writing one or multiple articles it’s best to identify each of your keyword phrases in advance before you begin. They will help you form your thoughts, and may encourage you to explore nuances you may have otherwise ignored.

When writing an internet marketing article, your objective is to get eyes and or back links to your site. To do that, you need to get accepted into an internet article directory and then get noticed and republished by ezine editors before you’ll get read by end users. That’s a lot of different audiences. While you know what’s in it for you, begin the writing process thinking about what’s in it for your ultimate reader as well.

Now that you are clear on your topic and why you are writing, you are ready to begin the next phase.


As you mull over your keyword and topic, ideas will come to you. That’s the main benefit of the prior exercise. Once your conscious mind is clear on the task at hand, so too is the subconscious. It will send you flashes of brilliance that may surprise you.

You want to capture those ideas. Even the bad ones, but search out the brilliant ones. Bad ideas can morph into good ones. Don’t judge, record. Write them down. Use whatever system that works for you. Long hand, computer, voice recorder, whatever.

Think about possible titles. What would grab people’s attention? Remind yourself of your readers. Who are they? Why would they want to read your article? What do they want to know?

What is the essential one element of your article? If it had to be just one sentence, what would it be? What are the key facts you want to share? Write them down, or list where you will look them up.

What will your call to action be? What do you want them to actually do when they are done reading your article? How are you going to get them to do it? What are you going to tell them that will make a difference in their lives?

This process can take days or 30 minutes. The results will vary by the amount of time you can devote. If you can, daydream about your topic while driving or doing other work. Your subconscious can be a powerful tool. What every time you have, use it to enlarge your topic.

In the next step, you are going to tie it down and begin to do some pruning.

The Outline.

We’ve all been taught the writing outline format since grade school. They are easy. You already know the main parts to your article. It will have a title, an introduction, a body and a close. And in the case of internet article marketing it will also have a resource box.

See, you are half done already. While it may vary, let’s assume there are three main points to the body.

• Title
• Introduction
• Body
o A
o B
o C
• Close
• Resource Box

Review your brainstorming notes. Pick the three most important ideas that must be in the body. If you have more that three, which can be grouped together?

If you absolutely cannot fit everything into three groups, add or subtract. It’s your article. By trying to nestle ideas into groups, you define the essence of your article.

You then assign an order within and among the groups in your outline. Once that’s done, you’re done with the outline. You can always add more, but at this point, you have captured and ordered the essence of your thoughts. If this were a book, rather than an article you would perhaps need to get more detailed. But it’s not, so it’s time to write that first draft.

Technorati Tags: Article Marketing, Article writing, back links, outlines, SEO

Do Your Internet Marketing Articles Meet this 5 Question Test?

Do Your Internet Marketing Articles Meet this 5 Question Test?

If you ignore the five essentials to effective internet marketing article writing, you may as well not waste your time. Article writing is a powerful tool. When done well, it will attract a lot of eyes and back links to your web site. Do it poorly, and your results will be meager.

1. Does your title attract the right reader’s attention?

Ideally, it should let the “right” readers know the information in the article is for them, and it should intrigue them to at least take a look. The goal of a headline or title is to get the reader to read the first line. If they don’t, your article fails its purpose.

Specifically, you want to catch your ideal prospects attention. A too cute title may catch a lot of attention, but if the people attracted aren’t candidates for what you are selling, in the final analysis you are just wasting their time. So while you want to be provocative, focus on that which would be appropriate for your specific audience.

Once you have them reading your first line, make sure it’s powerful enough to carry them into the first whole paragraph and beyond.

2. Is your article properly focused?

A good internet marketing article is succinctly focused on one topic. That topic may have multiple parts, but they are all specifically tied to one idea. As internet marketers, that idea should be a single Keyword or Keyword Phrase.

People will search for articles in article directories by keyword, and so you want them to be able to find your article. When they publish your article, you want to get back links to your web site based on that keyword. Thus it is imperative that you decide specifically which keyword you are trying to rank for, before you write the first word.

It goes without saying that the keyword and the article should be directly related to the site you are referring people to, or again you would be wasting everyone’s time.

3. Have you effectively used your keywords?

If possible you should include your keyword in your title. This will resonate with people who are searching for articles on your keyword. But don’t force it. Your primary objective is to get people to read your article. Including the keyword is a distinct plus, but not mandatory.

You want to use the keywords as often as possible within the article, but again don’t overdo it. Too many internet marketing articles are overstuffed with the keywords to the point that they don’t read well. So rather than trying to meet some artificial keyword density, concentrate on writing a readable article but do try to use your keywords wherever appropriate.

4. Is your content worth reading?

Provide your readers with value. If an internet marketing article is to get picked up and republished elsewhere, it will be because it caught an editor’s eye and delivered content worth sharing with their readers.

People respond well to facts, figures and statistics as long as they are not overwhelming. Anecdotes and stories that make a point enliven articles. Rather than adding a lot of adjectives to an article, focus on your verbs. Active verbs and a positive message are always welcome.

5. Does your resource box deliver?

The goal of an internet marketing article is to drive people and robots to your website. Your resource box is therefore critical to the success of your article. If you are not allowed to include anchor text in the article itself, it is essential that you do so in the resource box. Repeat your keyword and link it to your target site. But do so creatively.

As much as possible, develop your resource box as a continuation of your article. If it flows as thought it were a continuation of the article above it, a larger portion of your readers will read it as well. And then be sure to include a call to action. Let your readers know what step you want them to take.

If you have been able to hold their attention from start to finish of the article, it is only logical that they will want to follow on to the next step, by visiting your web site, blog or take whatever additional step you desire.

If you write your internet marketing articles with these five questions in mind, you will be rewarded with lots of traffic and back links to your web sites.


[Below is a sample of a resource box I will be testing when I post this article on the article directories.]

To learn more ideas and tips on how to ensure your internet marketing articles grab tons of new traffic and backlinks to your sites go to The author Earl Netwal also publishes a blog for small business people called

Technorati Tags: Article Marketing, back links, internet marketing articles, resource box, traffic

Article Marketing – Four Wins in a Row

Article Marketing – Four Wins in a Row

Article Marketing as it has evolved on the internet is a classic win-win-win-win institution that has become one of the backbones of the internet. There are four essential players in the article marketing game, all of whom benefit, each in their own way.

Like any market, article marketing is a business of supply and demand. There are end users, who get material from their local vendor who in turn gets material from their wholesaler, who in turns gets material from individual producers.

Unlike most markets, the transfer of goods in the article marketing arena is largely free. The end user wants free access to information. The magic of the article marketing model is that it has created economic incentives to all the parties to meet that demand.

There are many places online for people to get information. These include static web sites, blogs, forums, ezines, ebooks, etc. The producers of these sites, blogs etc are frequently monetizing their efforts with products and services they sell directly or on behalf of others or by various forms of advertising revenue.

Several of these, blogs and ezines in particular require a constant source of new material to keep their site fresh and to attract information seekers with the expectation that a certain percentage of them will also take a revenue producing action. The challenge for these venues is coming up with new material on a regular basis.

Their options are to write it themselves, hire it out or find a free resource of relevance to their specific niche of readers.

Article Directories

Article Directories have emerged to fill that role. They are the wholesalers of articles across a vast array of topics and specialties. They recruit article submissions from individual writers and group them in easy to search categories for the blog writer to search.

Most offer this service free of charge to the blog writers and anyone else who just wants to research a given topic. They make their money the same way most of the blog and ezine writers do. They usually have Google Adsense ads on their site as well as other advertising. They sometimes offer additional premium services for article writers and users as well, but these vary widely.

To be successful, article directories have found it necessary to be editors. They want their customers on both ends to benefit from the equation. To assure this they develop specific rules for the type of material they host on their site and editorial guidelines. These vary by individual article directory. Article writers must meet these standards to be accepted into the directory. This in turn assures a quality product for the blogger and their readers.

One of the most frequent editorial restraints is to contain blatant advertising. Most article directories have strict rules that prohibit advertising except in a section added to the end of the article called the Resource Box.

So who produces all this free editorially up to snuff material? What’s in it for them?

There are three primary motivators for the authors. Some are born writers who just need to write to express themselves. Or perhaps they are motivated to establish themselves as an expert in a given arena or niche.

Another major group are individual business people who seek to inform prospective customers about their product or service. In some cases they may share the desire to brand themselves as experts.

The motivation for most businesses lies in the utilization of the resource box. Most article directories allow authors to include two or more hyperlinks in this appendix to their article. These offer two major benefits to the submitting business. They can send people to your web site, called “traffic” in internet circles. They can also serve as back links to a specific page on their web site. These back links are helpful in getting attention from search engines and serve to help increase the targeted web sites ranking

As articles get picked up more and more bloggers and ezines these back links appear in more and more places increasing the relevance of the site in the eyes of the search engines. They are in some sense votes for the targeted web sites.

As importantly for many businesses is the traffic they bring as more and more people read the articles and go to the sites where a certain percentage will buy products or take other desired actions.

This entire arrangement is interdependent on each of the elements. The fact that is has evolved as an essentially free service for the most part is one of the marvels of the internet. The end user gets information, the blogger gets readers, the article directory traffic that they convert to revenue through ads, and the authors who get recognitions, traffic and search engine ranking. A win-win-win-win situation.

Technorati Tags: anchor text, article directories, backlinks, resource box

How to explode the number of back links to your website.

How to get to the top of the Search Engines, XIII

So far in this sequence I have stressed the need to get your on site ducks in a row if you want your web site to appear at the top of the search engine rankings. This is a critical first step that most people never get around to. Have you? If not, I still offer my Wart Services to analyze your site. Then make the changes. They matter.

The second part of my sequence has been focused on back links and how to get them. We’ve talked about anchor text, and several social networking sites you can use to build backlinks to your site. The advantage of these sites is your own ability to custom create your own backlinks. This give you control over the actual keywords used in the anchor text and where they link on your site. This latter control allows you to direct links to internal pages, which bolsters your standing in the eyes of the Search Engines.

Article Marketing

Today, we start a series on the most important way to build links and traffic to your web site, article marketing.

I will explain how it works tomorrow, and then in subsequent posts explain the four things all articles must have, how to create an outline for your articles, easy ways to get you creative juices flowing, what to do before submitting to article directories, and some red hot tips on how to get your articles read, and perhaps most importantly, how to write a resource box that makes people click. I may even offer suggestions on what to do if you hate to write.

Article writing requires a bit of work and it’s like slow feed fertilizer. The results of article marketing take time to build. The plus of article marketing is that it does ultimately flourish and will generate an exponential growth in the number of back links to your site. And as we have demonstrated, backlinks matter.  They matter even more when they are coming from a wide variety of places and grow over time.

The essential mathematics of article marketing comes from posting a single article with an article directory service.  Once it is accepted there, you have a back link to your site from a generally high ranking resource. But even better, as first a couple and then many more people find your article and post it on their blogs, newsletters etc, you start getting back links from many different places. So instead of having one back link, you may now have six or sixty.

There are thousands of article directories, some of which are very large. You can post the same article to more than one directory, multiplying again the number of potential backlinks you can create for your self with one half hour of writing. Since these articles stay on the directories indefinitely, it’s possible that an article you write today could be published off and on over the next five or ten years.

A disciplined approach of writing an article a day or even an article a week can over a period of a year or two lead to thousands and tens of thousands of backlinks. That level of backlinks could put most people on the top of their respective niche even in highly competitive niches. And put them there to stay.

The best part of article writing is that it is essentially a free way of building your standings.  Although as we will learn, there are some worthwhile paid services that can be real time savers.

One last tidbit for today. You don’t need to be a great writer to effectively use article marketing. So if the thought of writing scares you, don’t despair. The power of article writing is too significant to allow your lack of skills or fears to get in the way. We will discuss some options that will allow you to be successful without writing a single word.

Technorati Tags: anchor tags, Article Marketing, backlinks, WART Analysis

Getting to the Top of the Search Engines 2

Getting to the Top of the Search Engines 2

There are two main areas of attention when discussing how to move your website to the top of the search engines.  The first are the on-page factors and the second are the off-page factors.

The on-page factors are the easiest and quickest to deal with and are where we will start to focus our attention.  They are critical but not the most important. The off-page factors will in the long run carry more weight. But that said, if your on-page factors aren’t set up properly you can and will lose much of the benefit your off-page efforts could supply.

We will talk about 10 on page factors. Of these four are invisible, and of the six that are visible, one may already be cast in stone for better or worse.

The invisible elements are the Meta Tags. The meta tags are in the hidden code that the search engines can see, but your visitors normally don’t see.  You will learn how to see them, and anyone else’s when we discuss them in detail in our next section.

The meta tags include your title tags, your description and your keywords. The fourth of the invisible items is called an H1 tag.  The results of it are visible, but since it’s also HTML code (of the simplest kind) I am listing it as one of the invisible factors. Almost all of you will be able to make improvement to these elements on your web page.  For some of you this alone will make a significant difference in your page ranking. So stay tuned.

I’ve been surprised at how few websites I’ve reviewed have had adequate meta tags. Even those done by expensive web designers are often poorly done or in some cases missing altogether.

The visible elements include your first 50 words specifically, and the total number of words altogether. The total keyword count within your text and the percentage of the whole they comprise. We call this keyword density. The visible elements also include the internal links you have on your site and the way you link them, as well as the originality of your content.

The one item that may already be locked in stone is your domain name itself. As we will discuss, you will do better with the search engines if your web site includes you main keywords in it. If your site is already up and established you may not want to change it. That’s understandable. But if you are just now starting up and or are considering a complete makeover of your web presence, give serious thought to including your keywords and geography if appropriate in your new domains.

In our next article we will focus in detail on the hidden items. That will be followed by a look at the visible elements. Once we have covered those we will move on to discuss the off-page strategies.


P.S. I have just launched a new service I call the WART Analysis and Consultation

I have been testing it over the past week or so with home stagers and it has been very well received. I’ve got the service rock bottom priced for a short while, but will be raising it soon, so check it out now and take advantage while the price is so low.

Technorati Tags: SEO

So You Have A Splash Page and a Lot of Flash, Now What?

Yesterday, I described a problem that a lot of home stagers and other businesses have. When your web site starts out with a splash page, and/or your site uses a lot of flash coding you can become invisible to the little bots Google and others send around the internet to index sites. And that means your competitors have an advantage over you in terms of their ability to out rank you on Google and the other search engines. That costs you opportunities, and that means less jobs, and less money.

Today, I will briefly share more on what you need to do to mitigate the situation short of redesigning your entire web page. The “on page” factors that the Google Bots look for are just a part of the equation. And while lacking all the umph! having them would provide, you can still get yourself some traction using “off page” factors. There are a variety of off page things to do, but they basically boil down to getting BACK LINKS.

You do this by posting on other peoples blogs, writing articles, posting on web 2.0 sites like Squidoo and others.  When you do, you don’t want to link to your splash page if you have one. Instead link to your home page, or another page on your site that is relevant to the topic.

So, picking on my Friend Allegra again, I would have her sign her posts as “” rather than “”  It may look a bit odd at first, but it will take google to the page that matters and will count as a backlink in many cases. (not all but that is too long a discussion for now.)

Better yet, are situations where instead of signing with your URL you are able to use an anchor tag.  For example, if you are writing an article to post in an article directory instead of using your url, say Allegra Dioguardi is a Hamptons Home Staging Expert.

In this case, the keywords Allegra wants to rank for on Google is “Hamptons Home Staging”.

If she is on a Blog Site like Active Rain that has a Link tool (Looks like three links of a chain) in its WYSIWYG editor, she would highlight the words Hamptons Home Stager, and then insert her URL as the link, using the /home.html version.

That way when the bots find the link they provide not only a backlink but also identify the keywords at being relevant to the site. This process starts building keyword status for your website.

If you are on a site where you need to use html code you would build the link with a standard opening

<a href=”   and then insert your url, again with the /home.html (Or another page on your site) and end it with a   “>  Once that’s done, you add the keyword you want to rank for—  Hamptons Home Staging and a closing code which is  </a>

So the completed phrase in HTML is <a href=””>Hamptons Home Staging</a>  When this is put in the HTML of a site, anyone reading the phrase once published would only see:Hamptons Home Staging The words would be highlighted and most people will recognize them as a link. If they click on the link they would be taken to the page.

By virture of this post, Allegra now has a back link to her site.  You want to get as many of these as you can from as many different sites as possible.  Some sites are more valuable than others, but we will cover that in the future.

Focus on your major keyword. For home stagers, the number one word is Home Staging. But as I did for Allegra keep in mind that there are over 6 million web sites with the words “Home staging” in them. You want to rank for Home Staging and your town or what ever the dominant regional term people in your market would be likely to use.

I will be starting my new series on getting ranked by the search engines soon. But since I had several questions on this point I thought I would answer it now.

Technorati Tags: anchor tags, Keywords, Linking, SEO

Does Your Websites Splash Page Win Design Awards But Lose You Customers?

I got up before 5 AM this morning, which is against my religion.  I am a night person, not a morning person.

I do some of my best thinking when I am on long walks, driving to or from Chicago (400 miles) or sleeping. Last night the muse hit me while I was sleeping.

A couple of pieces finally fell into place.  And they may make a difference for you.

For some time now, I have been imploring home stagers and other small business people to make changes to the meta tags on their web pages.  Many have and have had good results. Other less so. And I have been troubled as to why.

There are two major categories of things you can do to improve you search engine success. Things that are done on your page and things that can be done off your page.  I will be starting a new series on this topic this week to repeat much of what I have already said, but to expand it into additional areas that I have not covered as well in the past.

My mistake in the past was to focus on just part of the equation – the meta tags and my innovative emphasis on geographical keywords. And while these are important, not paying attention to other factors was undermining results we were getting on some web sites.  I now think I know why, and better yet what to do about it.

It’s too early in the morning to tell my Market Maker associate Allegra Dioguardi, but her web site promoting her Hamptons Home Staging business was bothering me. Despite my efforts, it was not rising as rapidly as I thought it should in the Google Listings.   The reason – it has a splash page. The same problem affecting her, may affect you as well, even if you don’t have a splash page, so please read on.

By a splash page I am referring to a graphic page that viewers first come to when they type your url into their browser. When you go to you see a logo and then some pictures slide in from the right. When fully resolved there is a link that says enter here.

This is an attractive and stylish design and may even win a design award, but it creates a marketing problem.  Let me explain why.

The Googles of the world use a variety of factors to rank different web sites.  Among these factors are a variety of on and off page aspects of a web site. While I have been stressing the meta tags because so many home stagers and other micro businesses have grossly inadequate meta tags, another set of key factors are what is actually on the page. This shouldn’t be surprising at all.

The keywords listed in the meta tags should also be on the page. The main keyword of the site, and for home stagers, the main keyword is “Home Staging” should not only be on the main page but should be in a “H1” tag on the main page.  It should be used between 1-4% of the time on the main page.  It should be used at least once in the first 50 words of the main page.  And finally, the main page should have at least 425 words.

I will be discussing all of the above in the coming week in my new series on getting to the top of the Google Pile.

But for now, let me point out that even if you don’t have a splash page like my friend Allegra, your front page may also lack some of these features. And it is costing you Google Rank.  But never fear, there is at least a partial solution.

In Allegra’s case, her front page is all graphics.  Even if she had the keywords in the images, the Google bots couldn’t read them. Google bots read text, not images. So if your first page is heavily graphics, you may fall into the same boat.  Her site didn’t have the H1 tag which is Headline sized type. It didn’t have 425 words which Google uses to determine is the page is “substantive.”  It didn’t use her keyword in the first 50 words, and It didn’t repeat the keyword enough without over repeating it, which google uses to counter keyword spammers who attempt to game their system.

All of this means that this splash page gets a weak rating for the keyword “home staging,” or as in Allegra’s case she really wants to rank on the term “Hamptons Home Staging” to get the geographical long tail keyword benefit I have been advocating.

Now as I mentioned at the start, there are on page and off page factors that influence Google Ranking.  As readers of this blog know, I am an advocate of article marketing as a way to build back links to your web page.  Back links to this splash page will help the page, but without a lot of its own keyword gravitas they may be wasted.

So here is the solution.  When Allegra writes an article she should seek to get backlinks not to her splash page but to an inside page.  So when I included the anchor text in this article for the term “Hamptons home staging” I used as the link and not This is her real home page on her site. This allows her to rework that page to meet the above google criteria and increase her chance to climb in the Google rankings for her actual home page.

That way she can keep her existing web design and still build her Google ranking.  Now if I were to recommend a new web site, I might argue against the splash page all together, but if you have a splash page, and/or a page that is heavy on graphics, or just light on text, you may want to consider focusing your attention on an interior page for the purposes of getting ranked on Google.

I suspect this article will raise some questions. If so, please leave me a comment.  I will answer in the upcoming posts.  As mentioned, I will be doing a series over the next several posts on how to get your page a better ranking in your local market.  This is important stuff. And while you may not always be able to get the number one spot, you want to be in the fight because it matters. The top ranked organic site almost always gets more viewers and more business as a result of that placement than number 2 and #2 does better than #3 etc. (but I will share a hint that will help you even if you are #2 in the new series.)

Technorati Tags: Google ranking, SEO, Splash pages, web design

Why Houses That Smell Better, Sell Better

Another in my series of articles that almost any home stager could write.   Although this one uses some quotes and references.  When you get into writing your own, you should keep on alert for authority figures and quotes you can use. They help make an article sound more authoritative and thus more likely to get reprinted in someone else’s blog, just as this one did.


Why Houses That Smell Better, Sell Better
By Jolanta Dougherty

If you are planning to sell your house today in a SLOW paced real estate market you will already come to know that the competition is much higher than a year ago. This can be one of the more stressful aspects of having your home on the market, because in a slow or “buyers” real estate market, your house is just one of many for sale in your neighborhood. Many agents may be advising the only way to sell your home is to drop your price. But in most cases, this is not always the solution, there are other ways to sell house at the highest price no matter how slow the market is.

Once you have done your homework and picked up an effective real estate agent you should prepare your house for open day…which means you have to get rid of clutter; clean, clean, clean; ensure cupboards open and shut and that no taps are dripping, pack your personal house accessories (e.g. pictures, children drawings) and the list goes on…But one of most essential thing you must to do before you put your house on the market is get rid of any odors that are lingering in your home, especially if it’s not pleasant.

There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy house or one that smells of smoke and pet odors…

Doctor David Lewis is adamant: “Bad smells get up your nose – literally,” he says. “They have a negative effect on your brain. Pleasant smells have a positive effect and so it pays to have these in your house, especially if you are trying to sell it to a complete stranger.”

“Quite often you cannot smell your own home because you are so used to it. It’s the same as if you live next to a railway line or under the flight path of an airport. You get used to the trains and planes and you don’t hear them. And when you move, your odor hangs around like a ghost for a while, particularly in odd corners, until the new owners become established.”

Scientists recently confirmed that everyone’s home has a unique smell. Kind of like a fingerprint, only with odor. Craig Warren is a PhD who’s logged over thirty years in the “smell business”. He says that all homes have an “occupancy odor”. What causes your special smell? Some of the culprits are what you cook, pets, smoking and how you clean. A recent study found that there are a lot of places in your home for these odors to hide. Your couch, pillows, and drapes have a way of capturing smells that aren’t easy to remove. And a house with wood floors will have a different smell than a carpeted home.

When you are selling your house make sure that you done everything you can to get the best price and to sell your house as fast as you can. It will save you time, money and emotional stress…

Get my Free Report to find out tips and advice what to do when you need to get rid of cigarette smell, dog and cat urine smell, bad food and house smell and much more…visit

Article Source:,-Sell-Better&id=2222191

Technorati Tags: articles, eZine Articles, Smell

Home Staging and Renovations – The 5 Don’ts

Here is another in my series of eZine articles demonstrating the type of material that you could also produce in article of your own. As homestagers you are likely able to come up with your own list of the five biggest don’t do’s you have encountered or heard about in your career. Write them down in 300 to 600 words or so and put them on eZine articles and other article directories. Include a reference box at the bottom that links back to your web site. This will give you “Google Juice” and start establishing you as an expert article writer, and home stager. The article below was written by Teri B Clark, and while she is a professional writer, I bet you could have written the article below, and maybe an even better one, what do you think?

Home Staging and Renovations – The 5 Don’ts
By Teri B Clark

It is time to sell your home. You take a good hard look and realize that there are a few things you need to do to make your home a showcase. But now you wonder…..what things are the best? You certainly don’t want to fix your home in a way that doesn’t get you any return on your investment. Why waste money, right?

Here are five things you don’t want to do:

1. Adding high-end appliances to a modest home. Unless you live in an area where every home on the block has high-end appliances and a granite countertop, don’t add them to yours! You will spend a lot of money and see none of it in return. If you need new appliances or countertops, consider refinishing either or buying nice but less costly versions.

2. Adding hand painted tiles in the bath or kitchen. Sure, they look lovely. And, if you were planning to live there for years, you might want to do that for your own enjoyment. But adding a hand painted tile reflects YOUR tastes and you are trying to sell the home to others. If they want hand painted tile, they will add it!

3. Adding a central vacuum. These are a great feature. But, once again, only do this if you plan to live there and enjoy it yourself!

4. Replacing windows with newer models. Windows are very expensive and will not increase the value of your home at all. People expect a home to have windows and they don’t expect to pay more for a house just because they have them!

5. Adding a swimming pool. This is true even if people in your neighborhood do have them. It is true that a homebuyer likes the idea of a pool, but they are not willing to pay more to get it.

Just be sure that you check to see if a permit is needed before starting any new project. Many departments require permits, even for things as simple as changing a dishwasher.

There are other projects that are often part of home staging, such as replacing old or worn carpeting, painting the walls, refreshing the kitchen with new cabinet or freshly painted cabinet doors, or even putting in a new kitchen floor will give your home added value. That is what home staging is all about – adding value so that you can sell your home faster and for more money!

Teri B Clark is a professional writer and published author. Her most recent book, 301 Simple Things You Can Do To Sell Your Home NOW and For More Money Than You Thought, explains these tips in more detail and offers many, many others. To learn more about Teri’s latest book, visit or sign up for a free newsletter

Article Source:—The-5-Donts&id=501421

Technorati Tags: Article writing, Home Staging

Get Article Marketing Overview for Free!

Article Marketing Overview

In my last post on Active Rain and in several other posts here, I have advocated that Home Stagers expand their use of article marketing. In the process I have twice suggested that you consider buying an eBook from a mentor of mine, Doug Champigny.

Doug is an accomplished internet marketer, author and lecturer and one of the top marketers in Canada. I am in contact with him almost daily on the internet despite the fact that we have never met in person.

He is aware of my work with Home Stagers and suggested to me that this overview report he has written might be of interest to you. Even more useful is his willingness to let me share it with you for free.

While much of his material is oriented to people who make their living online, the value of article writing extends to main street businesses as well. And it certainly does to you who rely on the internet for at least part of your business leads.

Thus I am pleased to offer you the following link to download Doug Champigny’s Article Marketing Overview. The download includes a pdf version and an MP3 version as well. I have added in a few free bonuses as well.

I have an article writing mini course that I will send to you as well. If you decide you don’t want the article email course you will be able to stop it at anytime by clicking on a link that will be at the bottom of each post.

Claim you copy here: Article Marketing Overview

Technorati Tags: Article Marketing, Doug Champigny

Why Homestages Should Go Beyond Active Rain

Home stagers interested in attracting more clients and buidling their web presence are wise to post on active rain.  They get a couple of beneifts. First Active Rain is a relatively high ranking site in terms of Google Page Rank and backlinks from Active Rain to your website carry greater weight. This is good in terms of your ability to rise in the Google Listings.

The second advantage of active rain is that it exposes you to Realtors in your market who may also use active rain.

What Active Rain is less good at is reaching beyond the Active Rain community and into the home selling market at large. That’s an area where traditional article marketing has some potential.  I’ve written before about eZine Articles.  They are probably the biggest article directory online, but there are hundreds of others. A post on one of these directories has a chance of being picked up by any of thousands of other blogs and ezines around the world.

Such an article has a far better chance of doing some good missionary work on behalf of home staging than an article on Active Rain.  There are far more people who don’t know about home staging than do out there. And article marketing is one of the best ways to slowly reach out to tell the home staging story.

Beyond prosletizing, while a backlink from Active rain is positive to your google Ranking, after the second or third time the “Google Juice” it provides diminshes rapidly.  Google would rather see you get incoming links from a variety of sources and not just one.

This is where article marketing shines. Many of the article directories also have high page rankings, and just putting an article on their site can do as much as a post from Active Rain.  And when one of your articles is picked up by a number of other users, it multiples the effect. And that’s what Google wants to see.  Not one or two sources linking to you, but first tens and then ultimately hundreds of sites. When you do that, you will virtually lock yourself into top ranking in your market.

In the process you will be building the national and international market for home staging. And while that may be hard to quantify, in the long run it will come back and benefit you as well as everyone else.

Now the big secret here is that you can often use the same material and articles you write for Active Rain and post them on the article directories.

One of the best educations you can get on article marketing is Understanding Article Marketing by Doug Champigny.  While written to address the article marketing needs of online internet marketers, the lessons he teaches are directly applicable to home stagers and most any small business.

Don’t get mesmerized by the hunt for points and ranking on Active Rain. While it matters some, in the long run you will do yourself and the home staging industry more good on the mainstream article directories.

Technorati Tags: Active Rain, Article Marketing, eZine Articles

Curb Appeal, Home Stager Says 1st 15 Seconds Crucial

Here is another article written by a home stager on a topic that most anyone of you could write about.

In addition to encouraging you to write articles on your own, you too can borrow articles like this to share with people on your mailing list. What, you don’t have an email list to mail to? If that’s the case, you really need to sign up for Market Maker. Actually, you eventually should develop two lists. One of prospective clients who could use you home staging services and a second of area Realtors who could be using you to help build their careers. At any rate, as long as you include the resource box at the bottom, you can use these articles, which means you don’t have to write each and everyone yourself.

This article is by Katie Mudd of Fredericksburg, Virginia Discusses Curb Appeal.

Did you know that a buyer has developed an opinion of your property within 15 seconds? I have pulled up to many homes with clients who did not want to consider a property simply because the exterior needed some attention. The following ideas will help your homes exterior make a great first impression:

* Make sure the street and, sidewalk, walkway and porch are free from litter and debris
* Reseal a worn or stained driveway and repair cracks in the walkway
* Re-Paint the Shudders and front door
* Apply new door hardware and a brass kick plate
* Replace the house numbers
* Put a flower box with seasonal flowers alongside the door
* Install a new front light fixture and check that all exterior lights are in working order
* Have a cleaning service wash the siding
* Clean windows and replace any cracked or broken glass
* Replace any missing or broken shingles on the roof/If the roof is very old consider having it replaced prior to showing the property
* Make sure the gutters and downspouts are in good repair
* Mow the grass weekly and keep weeds under control
* De-clutter the deck or patio

Creating a cheerful, clean, neat entrance is one of the best investments of time, money and effort you will ever make. Don’t let a potential buyer slip through the giant crack in your walkway! Fix the crack and keep the buyer! I hope these tips for preparing the exterior of your home are helpful and I will post some interior home tips in a future article.

Katie Mudd, Realtor/CSP Visit to find out your home’s value, obtain a free list of foreclosure or affordable luxury homes or conduct a property search
Katie Mudd is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Elite located at 5444 Jefferson Davis Hwy in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Licensed in the commonwealth of Virginia. Each office is independently owned and operated Article Source:

Technorati Tags: Article Marketing, blogging, eZine Articles, Homestaging Tips

Article Marketing – Multiply the Results of your Efforts

Writing a good article is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise and showcase your business in a local newspaper or online.  An article in a local paper of course will bring you some immediate attention in your home market and that is a powerful way to build your business.

The benefits of online article marketing may not be as clear nor as immediate, but it too can be a powerful way to market your business.  Each article posted online can contain backlinks to your web site. These backlinks are one of the factors Google and others use to decide where your web page appears when someone searches for a home stager in your community.  The more back links you have, the more likely you are to get top billing. And you want top billing.

A lot of articles will also make it more likely that the local media in your community will find you and seek you out, when an editor decides to do an article or newscast on home staging.  If a newspaper article is good for business, a minute or so of exposure on local TV is golden.

Article writing comes naturally for some and less so for others. But whatever your situation, it’s worth doing. But once done, there is no reason why you should submit it to only one venue.

The article is yours, and if you post it to Active Rain that’s great. But if you have gone to the trouble of writing the article why not get double and/or triple duty out of it?

Actually you can do a lot better than triple duty. Let me explain.

There are tons of people writing newsletter, blogs and ezines on the internet. Some write all their content themselves, but this gets to be time consuming and a royal pain for most. So, rather than writing everything themselves, they will go to one of hundreds of different article directories that exist and find suitable articles they can use for their publications.

These directories are always looking for fresh content to offer to these bloggers and editors. So they are willing to take your article and post it on their site so newsletter editors can find it.  To make it worth your while, they stipulate that anyone who uses your material must include your resource page.

Your resource page is a brief statement at the bottom of you article that you write that says who you are, and allows you to include usually two links to your web site and or other site you want people to go to.

When I write articles I might include a link to one of my blogs and maybe another to an eBook I am selling.

The article directories make money on the advertising on their site, the people using your article get fresh content to use in their publications.  It’s a classic win-win-win situation.

The Granddaddy of all article directories is If there were just one place you wanted to post you article it would be there.  It is free to sign up as an author.  And almost everyone I know who is serious about internet marketing uses them. But as I said earlier, there are hundreds of similar article directories.

Now understand that each of these has their own set of rules, and it can be a bit frustrating at first to understand their different editorial requirements. But If you are capable of writing an article a week or even just an article a month, but are able to commit to doing so on a regular basis, it will be well worth your while to learn your way around these sites.

One of the biggest shortcuts out there are some of the article directory submitters. These are services that will take your article and submit it to multiple directories at once.  Some of these are pretty pricey for occasional users.  I use a service developed by Brad Callen called Article Submitter.

It too is designed for the professional.  It’s top level service the platinum allows you to submit your article to over 250 directories with the click of a single button. That’s a big time saver compared to going to each site and copying and pasting your article, title, resource box, and other items like keywords directory by directory.

But I don’t use the platinum version myself.  Frankly I started out with his Free version and later upgraded to the Gold. These take a little more effort, but once you have the basics down you can upload the same article to a lot of different directories. I usually submit to about 25 different directories for each article I write.

That gives me a lot more chances that my articles will be picked up by different newsletters and bloggers. Now this may be especially valuable to home stagers.  That’s because a lot of Realtors use newsletters to keep in touch with their farms or prospect list. (Home stagers should as well – that’s why you need something like market maker to build your own lists)

Since home staging topics will be relevant to many of these newsletters, I would guess that you would have a good chance of getting relevant article picked up. And while most will be from markets outside your market area, each will include a link back to your web site and do you some good.  And sooner or later, you will find a local Realtor or two using them in your own market, with any luck at all.

Article marketing is a powerful, if slow working tool to build a significant marketing advantage in your local area.  Article marketing is one of the topics that will be part of the monthly marketing calls we will be doing as part of the Market Maker Program.

PS: if you are interested in the free version of the Article Submitter,  look for the four tabs at the top of the page and click on article submitter.  That will take you to the free version.  If you can afford it, and plan on becoming a regular article writer, the Gold or Platimum versions are more powerful.

Which ever you use, once you have taken the time to write an article it make sense to distribute it as widely as you can.  The more directories you post on the more editors that will see your work and the more likely it will get published. It multiplies the benefits of your efforts.  Check out Article Submitter.

Technorati Tags: Article Marketing, article submitter, eZine Articles, Market Maker

Home Staging Marketing Tactics That Will Put You Out of Business – Part 1

The Staging Diva is one of the best known personalities in home staging circles. It should not come as a surprise that one of the tactics she uses to attain and maintain that position is article marketing.

You may not be as articulate and experienced a writer but that’s not necessary either, We will continue to post home staging articles here from top notch writers and more everyday ones to demonstrate to you that article writing is another tool you can put in your arsenal.

If you would like to get an excellent how to resource on article marketing I highly recommend Doug Champigny’s Beginners Key to Understanding Article Marketing


Home Staging Marketing Tactics That Will Put You Out of Business – Part 1

Unfortunately, many individuals with a talent for decorating attempt to become home stagers without any kind of business training or marketing knowledge. With the best of intentions they stumble into some awful marketing tactics that will put them out of business faster than you can say, “What were they thinking?”

When you’ve made a career of being a home stager, like any business you might run, marketing must be a focus of your efforts to generate a steady stream of paying clients. Unfortunately, some home stagers aren’t portraying an image of professionalism, which not only hurts their own success, but casts a bad light on the home staging industry as a whole.

Before I entered the home staging industry, I owned a marketing consulting firm where I used my MBA and experience working for advertising agencies to help promote Fortune 500 companies. It pains me to see tacky marketing gimmicks being used by any company. But it’s worse when it’s a staging business because I sincerely want to see people succeed in this field and raise the standards in the industry. That’s why, when I train others to become home stagers, there’s a great deal of focus placed on smart marketing techniques.”

The following are some of the worst marketing tactics I’ve seen carried out by home stagers:

Using sexy as a selling point.

It’s true that sex sells, but it’s a terrible idea to use your sex appeal to sell home staging services for many reasons.

* It’s not safe. You’re going to a stranger’s home, most likely by yourself. If you don’t want to put yourself in a bad situation, don’t claim to be a sexy home stager.
* It’s irrelevant. As long as you can present a polished image and prove your ability to transform a property to appeal to buyers, it doesn’t matter what you look like.
* It’s inappropriate. Usually, the marketing I’ve seen by home stagers who are trying to attract customers based on their level of sexiness is just ridiculous and it’s impossible to take these stagers seriously.

I recently came across a “home staging” website featuring a strange animated character telling the world that she was her state’s sexiest stager. The whole thing was strange. After the animated head introduced herself as her state’s sexiest stager she said that if you want your home to sell fast and for top dollar you should stay tuned for weekly tips on sexy staging.

Then the animated head tells a joke: What is the difference between broccoli and boogers? Kids won’t eat broccoli. Which led her to sharing the day’s sexy staging tip which was (and months later still is), “Remember to clean the boogers off the walls before you put your house on the market.”

This is enough to make any reasonable adult cringe, and would lead even a teenager to ask, ‘Is this a real home staging business?”

Nobody is going to trust that person to prepare their largest asset to sell. There are ways to use video effectively to enhance your marketing message, but a “sexy” animated robot, especially one joking about “boogers”, is not one of them.

In part two of this series of articles, learn why offering a guaranteed sale based on home staging services is a terrible marketing idea.

Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, president of Six Elements and creator of The Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with 900+ Graduates worldwide. Debra is the author of two home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar

Article Source:


Learn how to use article marketing to build traffic to your web site and build your reputation in the home staging universe. Get a copy of the Beginners Key to Understanding Article Marketing by Doug Champigny.

Technorati Tags: Articel Marketing, Debra Gould, Ezines Articles

A short introduction to me and why Market Maker

I was asked to introduce myself by one of the people I have been marketing Market Maker to this past week. I have done so in the past, but thought I would offer the quick response I gave her here again. My name is Earl Netwal.

I call myself a micro business specialist and my focus is on helping small businesses understand and more effectively use the internet.

Thousands of businesses have web sites that are doing nothing for them. Most are little more than glorified yellow page ads. I used to think that many could be transformed into significant assets if their owners knew what to to do. Then I realized I was wrong. Most very small businesses are too busy trying to stay alive. Even if they know what to do, they don’t have the time or energy to do it. But frankly most of them haven’t a clue as to what to do. So there is a double hurdle.

To try to overcome that I wrote a short report I call, “Why Most Small Business Web Sites Stink.” It’s available free from my microbusiness web site blog. It may be that my title should be changed, because what the report is actually about is a comparison of the functions of a web site to that of a trade show. By comparing and contrasting different familiar aspects of a typical trade show I try to communicate what a web site could and should be.

Last year I took a special interest in home stagers as a test subject area. I have a decade plus background as a Real Estate Broker and wanted to find some aspect of the business where a lot of “micro” businesses still prevailed. I did a significant survey of almost 200 different home stagers in the US and Canada to learn about the issues facing them as small business people.

This past week I launched a service specifically targeted to home stagers. It seeks to assist them in revamping their meta tags which are almost always awful and eventually hand hold them through a variety of other search engine optimization techniques through a series of monthly teleseminars. This is to get a greater number of visitors from their market to their web sites.

Then I set them up with an auto responder system and what I call an ethical bribe. This is designed to get their visitors to opt in and allow them to build a list of prospects from their community interested enough in home staging to come to their web site.

I then offer them a series of follow-up articles to drip on these prospects. This idea is hardly new. It’s standard practice in internet marketing 101, but so few main street businesses apply it to their web sites, and so far I haven’t found a single home stager who does.

As a result, I am confident I can help my members increase their share of the business in their markets, by out-competing their fellow home stagers and as importantly by converting more people with a passing interest in home staging into actual customers.

I am looking for people to help spread the message to the home staging community.

What I am doing could easily be applied to hundreds of other businesses outside of home staging as well.

To learn more go to Market Maker

Technorati Tags: Market Maker

Home Staging: Why Market Maker?

Why Market Maker? Podcast

Home Staging Marketing: Why Market Maker?

The Market Maker program is now live and available for Home Stagers interested in getting more business from their existing web pages.

I did a survey of home stagers last year. One of the things many expressed disappointment in was how little new business they got from their web pages.

Since then, I have held a tele-seminar, and written dozens of articles on how to turn that around. Yet relatively few home stagers have applied the secrets well known and taught in professional internet marketing circles.

I recognize the problem in myself. I often know what to do, but doing it is often another story.

Properly setting up your web page to get customers isn’t about nicer and fancier before and after pictures. It’s about attracting people potentially interested in home staging from YOUR market place, and getting them to identify themselves, so you can directly market your services to them.

The steps required include: changing some techie things about your web site; adding an opt-in box, which used to mean you needed to redo the front page of your web site; writing a special report; and then a long series of email marketing pieces.

Now none of these are too difficult, if you know how to do them, and seemingly impossible if you don’t.

And so, most people didn’t.

That’s why I developed Market Maker. Market maker will do all this for you. Develop new Meta Tags for your web site that will help more people from your town find your web site. Create an opt in form that doesn’t require you to redo your existing web site. It provides a great “ethical bribe” that will encourage people that visit your site to let you know they were there. Let you know they are interested in home staging and most importantly giving you permission to tell them more about you and your services.

Market Maker will dramatically boost your business.

Market Maker improves your marketing in two ways.

First it helps your home staging company stand out among your competitors. You will be the one that catches and keeps your prospects attention. This will get you a larger percentage of the existing business in your community.

Secondly, not everyone who thinks about using a home stager ends up doing so. With Market Maker, a larger percentage of them will, and when they do decide to use a home stager, it’s highly likely they will pick you.

To get more information go to Market Maker

Technorati Tags: Home Staging, home staging marketing, Market Maker, marketing

Home Staging Marketing on Auto Pilot that Pays for Itself!

Home Staging Marketing: Market Maker is Alive!
Home Staging Marketing: Market Maker is Alive!

Market Maker is alive an open for the first 30 Home Stagers that want to transform their web sites into marketing machines.

Market Maker will set you up with a proper set of Meta Tags, including Page Title Tags, and effective Site Description and geographically based long tailed keywords.  These tweaks will help more people in your local market find your web site.

Then, Market Maker will offer your visitors an Excerpt from Allegra Dioguardi’s new eBook, Styled by Design, a Guide to Home Staging Design Principles.  This will get your visitors to raise their hands and identify themselves, and get them to give you permssion to follow-up with them.

That will allow you to build a relationship with them, over time.  And people make their buying decisons based on relationships.  That means you will get a greater percentage of them to be your customers, than if you just relied on a single visit to your web site.

As you will see when you visit, Market Maker offers much more as well.

Professional internet marketers have been using this basic strategy for years to make millions. It is readily adapted to the Home Staging industry.  But in the past, it required making major changes to your web site, which is time consuming and an expense.  It required writing a special report to serve as an ethical bribe to get people to sign up.  This was a barrier to some. It required learning how to set up and run an auto responder, and this too became a barrier.  And finally, it required creating a whole series of follow-up articles which compounded the writing burden for many.

Market Maker sweeps all those objections out of the way. Market Maker handles virtually everything for you and super charges your entire internet marketing effort. Once set up it can run for years, greeting new prospects as they appear, establishing a positive relationship with them and converting them from web browsers into home staging clients. And it does it all 365 days a year, while you are sleeping or on vacation.

Market Maker will give you a competitive advantage in you maket, but only if you are the first in your telephone area code to join. Membership is limited to just one Homestage per area code.  Don’t be the one frozen out.

Go to Market Maker now to get all the details. You won’t find a lot of hype. Instead you will discover an complete and thorough discussion of Market Maket and how it works.  When you are through reading you will be in a position to make a rational decison as to whether Market Maker is right for you or not.

I’m betting you will see its benefits and how it will give you more time to do what you like, home stagings, rather than worrying about your marketing.

Technorati Tags: Market Maker

Home Staging Marketing: Winning Over the Null Set

Home Staging Marketing: Winning Over the Null Set

Home Staging Marketing: Winning Over the Null Set

If you remember the null set from your school days, or as likely from your kid’s math homework, you might recall it being used to describe those who did neither a or b but nothing at all.

You put a lot of effort into marketing your home staging services and sometimes get undercut by your competitor, and that hurts.

Marketing is essential in our competitive world, particularly in adverse times. Most people realize it’s all the more important to invest in marketing when times are tough. But do they realize that sometimes the biggest competitor isn’t the gal down the street with that “other” designation, but rather the null set.

In this case, the null set includes the people who come to your web site because they are considering home staging, but then decide to do without.

That’s one of the reasons the little gift or bribe I wrote about yesterday is so effective. If you offer visitors something of value on your web site and then follow up with them; you have a far better chance of getting them to use staging and most importantly your services to stage their home.

If you don’t, it’s like betting your business on one cut of the deck, high card wins.  They either are sold on your services when they see your web site or not.

In contrast, with a little gift, and follow-up you have a chance to continue that conversation for days, until they either say yes or no. You get multiple chances to share with them the value of staging and win their business. You won’t win over the entire null set, but you have a better chance at getting more of them to use your services.

This process is at the heart of the Market Maker system.  Market Maker will be launching very soon. You want to be part of it.
Now I confess I have been stressing the need to sign up before your competitor does in most of my posts.   And while it’s true that market maker will give you a distinct advantage over your competitor, a good part of that advantage will be in turning members of the null set into customers.  People who otherwise might not have staged at all.

Effective marketing isn’t just about beating your competitor to the job, it’s about getting more people to use your services.  Market Maker does both.

That said, it’s still true that only one home stager will be allowed to join the program from any one telephone area code.  So it’s important that you at least take a good look at Market Maker as soon as possible. And then decide to join or not.  Don’t let your friendly competitor take your option to join away from you by beating you to the punch.

Home stagers who sign up on the advance notice list will get a half hour head start to join and advance notice of the actual start time.  Word to the wise, I would sign up for that head start today.
Market Maker

Earl Netwal
Micro Business Specialist

To get on the advance notice list register your company at

Technorati Tags: Home staging marketing tips, marketing

Dangle Something Pretty Before Their Eyes

Dangle Something Pretty Before Their Eyes

Listen to the podcast

Dangle Something Pretty Before Their Eyes!

We all like things that are free and pretty and/or delicious.

And if it’s something that is also related to what our web visitors
are looking for and the product or service we wish to offer, it’s
very much all the better.

In recent articles we’ve been looking at what it takes to get
people to find your web site. There are a whole host of tricks
tweaks and tactics collectively called Search Engine Optimization
that can help build traffic to your web site.

But once they are there, what are you going to do to get them to
pay attention to you?

You are going to give them a sucker, a popsicle, an ice cream cone
just like you did your kids. Only in the adult world we are going
to give them something of value, related to our mutual interests.

Presumably they came to your web site because they were at least
somewhat interested in Home staging.

You want to be able to give them something they can use related to
home staging. Something for free. Something they can take with
them, right here and now. With no fuss or muss. With no obligation.

If you do and no one else does, you will be ahead of the game. What
you want to give them is a free report of some sort that they can
download. A Gift.

To get it they will need to give you their email address so you can
send it to them. That way you will know who they are, and how to
get a hold of them again.

That will allow you to send them another gift in a few days. And

And if you keep it up, they will end up calling you when they are
finally ready to make up their mind and hire a home stager.

If you have a pretty thing to dangle on your web site, and no one
else does, you are going to get their attention and eventually
their business.

It might not be nice to bribe your kids to get their attention but
it works.  It works with prospective customers as well.

Market Maker is coming and coming soon.  Market Maker takes the
ideas of Search Engine Optimization and what we call ethical bribes
and much more and wraps it into a unique marketing plan
specifically designed for Home Stagers. It’s a marketing plan on
auto pilot that pays for itself.  Membership in the plan is limited
and you should be sure to sign up for advance notice as not
everyone will be allowed to join.

Sign up for advance notice at Market Maker
PS: Market Maker is limited to just one home stager per telephone
area code during its initial run.  You want that to be you, and not
your competitor.  Register for advance notice now at Market Maker

Technorati Tags: ethical bribes, Internet marketing, Market Maker, marketing

Paint Colors That Sell – 7 Tips to Choosing Colors Buyers Will Love

Tasha Moody got me see colors with this useful article she has posted to the eZine Article Directory. I bet it gets a lot of use in real estate and other blogs. Each time it gets used it will send Google Bots back to her web site and even if no one takes her up on her offer for color swatches, or lives in the Atlanta area, she will benefit by way of a higher search engine placement in the Atlanta Market. Plus should someone in her market see it, they will recognize that she is knowledgeable, maybe even an expert, and that will help raise her status in their eyes.

Paint Colors That Sell – 7 Tips to Choosing Colors Buyers Will Love

There you are, touring a new listing in the perfect location, with the right number of bedrooms and the best school district. It’s the only one in your price range, and while it’s clean and new and generally de-cluttered, you just can’t get past the master bathroom seeming uninviting and the finished basement feeling a bit dark. As much as you’d like for it to be, it just isn’t “the one.” No offers today.

Unfortunately what that seller failed to realize is that a simple change in paint colors would have been the missing link to clenching an offer, all for the cost of a can of paint. Choosing the right paint colors is a critical step in preparing a home for sale and is one of the biggest players in the emotional connection (or lack thereof) that a buyer makes with a property. What are those perfect paint colors for helping sell houses? Well, that’s the million dollar question that can be very difficult to answer if you don’t know color. Read on for some basic tips that will get you on the path to choosing the right colors for staging a home:

1. Neutral is great, but all beige is boring
A common real estate misconception is that painting the walls white or beige throughout the entire home will give the buyers a “blank slate.” Problem is, it usually turns out to be a very boring, unmemorable blank slate that rarely results in increased profits or a faster sale. While beige is much safer than super bright or very bold colors, having a variety of color within the right palette is ideal. However, using a warm beige or tan such as Shaker Beige by Benjamin Moore in the common areas (hallways, stairwells, foyers, etc.) is recommended.

2. Stick with earth-toned varieties of tan, green, yellow, blue and grey
For example, when looking at greens stay in the sage, celery or rosemary ranges. Or when thinking of yellow go with the more buttery or golden tones as opposed to the brighter varieties. Look to the types of tones and shades you see in nature most often and mimic those in your color choices.

3. Either the walls or the décor should take the stage – but not both
If your living room has dark brown leather and walnut-toned furniture, you’ll need to go with a lighter tone on the walls to balance. Likewise, if you have a maple dining room set and white fabric upholstered chairs, you’ll need a warmer color on the wall and complimentary place settings/centerpiece to ensure the room doesn’t appear washed out. Consider your furniture, cabinetry, artwork, flooring and countertops when choosing the shade of paint.

4. If in doubt, go with the lighter option
If you’ve narrowed your options to two or three colors and all would make great choices, a rule of thumb is to pick the lighter option when going to sell. While deeper tones can make fabulously enticing rooms, they can be tricky. If you aren’t working with a home stager or color consultant it’s better to air on the side of safe, rather than chance overwhelming the seller.

5. Green, red and yellow are appetizing colors
Sage green, apple red and golden yellow are great colors for dining rooms and kitchens because they evoke appetite. Red is definitely the trickiest of the three to use effectively without overwhelming a room, but if combined with the right furniture and accents it makes for a very appealing color. Yellow is a cheery color that encourages conversation. Green is a combination of appetizing and soothing, making it popular with many different types of people and in several different rooms of the home.

6. Cool colors like blue and green have soothing, spa-like appeal
Use a gray-blue in a bathroom with an orchid by the sink and a stack of fluffy towels by the tub, or sage green in a bedroom with white bedding and dark wood furniture for a soothing, harmonious appeal. Some studies have shown that blue and green actually have healing properties such as lowering heart rate and blood pressure! Try “Iced Marble” or “Mosaic Tile” by Benjamin Moore.

7. Order a sample can
When you have decided on your colors and picked the shade you feel is best, always pick up a $5 sample can of paint and test it on a decent-sized area of several walls with different lighting in the room to ensure it works on the grander scale. This small investment will save you a lot of time and energy in the end, as tiny paint swatches can often be deceiving.

Good Luck!

Tasha Moody is a certified Home Staging Expert and President of Simply Staged, an Atlanta home staging company. Go to to learn about the 27 BEST staging colors that consistently help sell the listings Tasha stages. Order your own paint fan of the colors with oversized swatches and details of which room the color works best in for just $25 so you can start recommending paint colors with confidence! Choosing beautiful paint colors has never been so easy.

Article Source:

Technorati Tags: colors, Paint

Sailing beyond ActiveRain, don’t miss the boat.

Sailing beyond Active Rain, don’t miss the boat.

[Many home stagers post on the Active Rain Blog site. While this is a great forum and brings home stagers and Realtors in close proximity, it shouldn’t be the sole marketing focus. Instead, if you post there learn in the article below how you can leverage your efforts.]

Listen to Sailing Beyond Active Rain on Podcast

Sailing Beyond Active Rain – Home Staging Business Tips

Posting on ActiveRain has many benefits but if that’s all you are doing, you are missing the boat.

Active rain is a good place to share with other homestagers, to learn from them and to get exposure of your business with other active rain members. But most Realtors and home stagers are not on active rain, so don’t let yourself spend all your marketing efforts there.

Instead, multiply your results.  Post articles on your own blog and on article directories and not just on Active Rain.

This will significantly boost the number and value of back links to your web site. It will accelerate your rise in the search engine results and win the top ranking in your market.

A post on Active Rain, puts some wind in your search engine rankings because the Active Rain site is seen by Google as an authority site. It has a page ranking of 6 which is pretty good, and a link from active rain back to your site gets more credit that a link from your cousin Mary’s occasional blog.

That said, if your only back links are coming from Active Rain, there is reason to believe that each additional post is less and less meaningful from Google’s perspective.

To really fill you sails, you want to get back links from dozens and then hundreds of other web sites.  And it’s easy to do. Particularly, if you are already posting regularly on Active Rain.

There is no reason why you can’t post the same article you intend to put on Active Rain on your own blog first.  I highly recommend that you set up a either a free Blogger Account, or better yet a free WordPress blog. There are a lot of reasons for this, but most notably, having your own blog sets you up as the expert and allows you to develop your own identity.

The second additional step is to register with eZine articles, and begin publishing your articles there as well.

These steps work in combination with each other, and capture the wind of your effort like a three masted ship captures the same wind three times over.

The same article with a few tweaks can be used for all three. And the results are a swifter voyage to the top of the rankings.

Let me explain it a bit more.

Your own blog makes you an authority in the eyes of those who come to it. Be they past or prospective customers, other homestagers or realtors or the media and general public.
This increases your status as the go to person in your market on home staging.

You have an article idea.  You write it up and post it on your blog.  You then take the same post and share it on Active Rain. You get Active Rain points, and rise in their listings. Plus you enjoy all the other benefits of participating in the active rain community.

Once you have it up on your blog and active rain, your rephrase it slightly to appeal to the general public. You then post in on one of hundreds of article directories. I recommend eZineArticles as the place to start.

Once posted on eZine Articles, your post is available to be reprinted by bloggers and ezine writers around the world. The bargain is that anyone can post your article, but they cannot change its wording and must include your resource box.

The resource box is where you put a brief blurb about yourself, and a back link to your blog and to your main web site.

As your article is picked up by blog writers, you get more and more back links. It builds slowly at first, but as time goes on it grows into a gale of a windstorm sending tens, then hundreds, and then thousands of back links to your web site.  Before long, Google realizes that you are an authority, and blows you past the finish line as the regatta winner and top ranked homestager in your market.

The beauty of this system is that you go yourself to the article directory and find other home stager’s articles from other markets and print their articles as entries on your blog.  That way you can add new material to your blog on a regular basis without having to write it all yourself.

For Example, I posted this article on Active Rain, and a modified form here and as a broadcast to my Home Staging mailing list.
You should do the same thing.  You write an article a week, and post one or two others from elsewhere on your blog. It sets you up as an expert.

You take the one article you wrote and with minor revisions as necessary post it in three places.

This provides you with a great deal of leverage, and will make you captain of your own destiny.

When you become a member of Market Maker, which will be opening next week, I will be sharing other ideas and techniques that will help you maximize your return on effort as you market your home staging business. Marketing can be challenging, that’s why it’s a good idea to put as much as possible on auto pilot, and then leverage the work you do so that it has maximum benefit.

Market Maker is a limited membership program. Members will have access to some innovative marketing tools that will put them on top of their local markets and provide a genuine competitive advantage. It is highly recommended that you sign up for advance notification of the start date as only one home staging company will be allowed to join from any given market place, and initial membership will be limited to only 30 companies.

To get on the advance notice list register your company at

Technorati Tags: Article Marketing, home staging marketing, search engine optimization, SEO

Home Staging Tip: Chased By A Bear!

Listen to this podcast, Chased by a Bear:

Homestaging Business Tip: Chased By a Bear!

Chased by a Bear!

There is a story of two people in the woods, being charged by a hungry bear. One stops to tie his shoes, the other scoffs, “you can’t outrun a bear.”  “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you.” His companion replied.

So too, with marketing in a local market.

You don’t need to be the best in the nation at marketing, you just need to be better than your local competitors.  That may be easier than you think.

With notable exceptions most home stagers spend very little time thinking about their marketing. Some may even feel it contrary to their nature. But if you are serious about your home staging business, you must give some serious thought to how you are going to attract your next customer and then the one after that.

That’s one reason you have a web page. But many of you make a mistake and think a web page is all about selling a potential customer on your staging skills. The purpose of a web page is to get prospects to call you.

I will discuss that more in a future article, but many of you have a bigger problem and don’t even know it.

Many people looking for a home stager in your town can’t find your web site.

In past articles, I’ve touched on two things you can do to remedy that problem. One is to change your page title tags to include relevant keywords.  Another is to change the Meta Tag description on your web page to also include relevant keywords.  There is one more major step to take in the meta tags area, that will greatly increase the chance that prospects looking online actually find you.

And that is the formal meta tag keywords.

There are over six million web sites that show up when someone searches for the term “Home Staging” in Google. That’s way too many, so most people when confronted with so many responses do a second search.

And in that second search they may try another keyword, like “home stager,” but more likely they will use the same keyword and add a geographical term.

When my son searches for pizza on the web, he adds his zip code. For a less common business like home staging, he might use his telephone area code, or the town name.

I’ve written about this before, but I am amazed at how few people actually take the time to make this simple change to the keywords they have in their meta tags.

If you do, and your competitors don’t, it’s like you putting on a pair of tennis shoes. Hey, they may even be a slightly better home stager than you. But if you are wearing geographically based keywords as your tennis shoes, you will get ranked above them in the computer search engines.  You will get seen, they won’t. Or if they do, they will be listed under you in the rankings.  You will get first chance to stage more houses. And they won’t know why.

Now I know some of you aren’t into competition, but this is business. If you want your phone to ring. If you want to be doing two to four more home stagings a month, you need to pay attention to your marketing.

You need to change the keywords in your web page’s meta tags. You need to include terms like “Home staging in Minneapolis”, “St. Paul Home Stager”, “House Staging in 612.”

In the first article of this series, I told you where and how to look up keywords. You need to find the top keywords people actually use, and then mix and match the appropriate geographical references for your market place.

It’s a chore, but not hard. It will make a real difference, and will allow you to outrun your competition.

Next week, the Market Maker program will be launched. All of these changes and much more will be handled by Market Maker for you. Market Maker is a unique program designed specifically for the Home Staging industry.  It will put your web based marketing on auto pilot and will pay for itself.

Membership will be limited, particularly at first. So if you want to sprint to the front of your market place, make sure you sign up for advance notice of the release date.

To do so go to

Best Wishes,

Earl Netwal

Technorati Tags: homestaging, Keywords, marketing, Meta Tags

Curb Appeal for Search Engines

Curb Appeal for Search Engines

Listen to podcast

Curb Appeal for Homestaging Web Sites

When you want to show yourself off, you may decide to put on your best dress.

When you talk to your clients, you tell them to stage their house, to present it to its best advantage.

When you put up a web site to attract potential customers, you need to do the same thing.

To attract people to your site, you need to dress up your META tags.

Geeky it may be…but it’s curb appeal for search engines.

Starting sometime next week, you will be able to get all of this done for you when you become a member of Market Maker and much, much, more.

But even if you don’t, you should be aware of what you can do to make you web site sparkle in the eyes of the Google bots. They roam the internet and determine whether or not your site has enough curb appeal to merit a look see.

Previously, We’ve talked a bit about finding keywords and how to improve your Page Title Tags. Today we are going to dress up one more section of your “Hidden code” the Hidden charm that the bots love to see. (See yesterdays article on how to find your meta tags, if you don’t know how.)

The Description Statement is one of the META tags that makes a difference in how to professionally stage your web site.

It starts like this:

“<meta name=”Description” content=”______”/>”

In the blank, you want to put a description of your business. This should be keyword rich.

In the first article in this series I told you how to look up keywords. This is where you begin to use them.

You want to come up with a sentence or two that includes as many top ranking keywords as possible and an appropriate geographical reference.


“Staged to Sell is a professionally accredited and certified Home Staging Service specializing staging houses in Minneapolis, Bloomington, Edina, Burnsville and Apple valley and other South Metro suburbs. Our home stagers are expert real estate fluffers and the best home staging company in Minnesota”

Notice: Very few human will ever see this, although some might. Stilted language is okay. We’re going for robot sex appeal, not your English teacher’s ok.

Getting people to find your web site is just the beginning of the process of communicating with them. But it is the essential first start. Like curb appeal, it will help get them to look closer, but its what’s on the inside that gets them to buy.

Next week, the Market Maker program will launch. Market maker will not only deal with this geeky tech stuff, but will also add significantly more to the conversation you have as a home stager with your prospective homeowner.

Market Maker is a complete home staging web site marketing plan that runs on auto pilot. It will give you a distinct competitive advantage. Sign up for advance notice at Go to

Best wishes,

Earl Netwal

PS: Market Maker is coming, but not everyone who wants to will be allowed to join. Initially only 30 Home staging companies will be allowed to join, and only one from every telephone area code. This will be a powerful tool to build your business. Be sure to sign up for advance notification.

Technorati Tags: Market Maker, Meta Tags, prospecting, Web sites

Make Your Tract Home Appeal to Buyers

This is the second in a series of articles on Home Staging I am sharing from Home Stagers who have posted in the eZine Article directory.  Article publishing provides the poster with backlinks to their web pages.  This raises their Search Engine ranking and helps build traffic to their site.  It is a highly recommended practice.  This article is by Jeannette Fisher.  Check out her links at the end of the article.   And don’t forget to sign up for advance notice on Market Maker. It’s coming soon and you want to be part of it.

Home Staging: How to Make Your Tract Home Stand Out in the Crowd

Home sellers who wish to market their property in development neighborhoods face tough challenges. All the houses look similar. All the houses sell for amounts in the same price range. The market — whether it’s a hot sellers’ market or a cool buyers’ market — largely determines the price, purchase terms, and length of time to sell.

How do you make your home stand out from the crowd? How can you turn your property into a “hot” sale, even if the market’s lukewarm? Remember the “Three M’s” and apply these Design Psychology strategies as you stage your home for sale:

1. Magnetism. Because most buyers won’t even get out of their car unless a home shows promise, create an exciting exterior that draws prospective buyers to your home. Place an interesting focal point in your front yard, such as a water fountain, a large urn, or a beautiful tree. Enhance your walkway with enticing plants or light fixtures that clearly mark the path to the front door. Use color psychology to either paint your front door or its framework a happy, inviting color, such as Sherwin William’s Torchlight (golden wheat) or Rose Tan.

2. Mystery. Most home searchers only spend three to four minutes looking at the average home. Enchant with mystery as soon as the prospects enter your home. Make the buyer take a second look by using Design Psychology lighting tricks. Place a palm tree so that it partially blocks the view of the hallway. Uplight the palm tree with a canister light that casts captivating shadows on the walls and ceiling.

3. Memory. Home shoppers look at many houses in a row. Your goal is to get the buyers to remember your home above all others. Design psychology can help you do this. Think about your buyers’ dream: they want a lifestyle –not just a house. Make your buyers believe that if they choose your home, they will have the privilege and right to take a nap in that “fantastic garden hammock,” read a great book in your private reading nook, or cook a delicious meal in your gourmet kitchen.

Turn heads with your enticing home. Turn viewers into buyers. Turn your typical development home into a buyers’ dream home using home staging methods that create a lifestyle delight.

© Copyright 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher All rights reserved.

Jeanette Fisher, author of Joy to the Home Journal (ezine), Sell Your Home for Top Dollar–FAST, and Home Staging for Top-Dollar Sales, teaches design psychology college courses and professional real estate investing seminars. For home selling tips see For home staging strategies see

Technorati Tags: ezine, eZine Articles, Tract homes

Page Title Tags – Getting People to Find Your website II

Listen to “Page Title Tags” Podcast

Page Title Tags – How to Get More People to Visit Your Website

Page Title Tags

Yesterday I discussed keywords and the Google Keyword tool. Today, we will explore page title tags.

These are the first of several elements that are in the hidden code for your web site. It is one of several elements that the search engines can see about your page that you and you visitors don’t.

Well that is only partially true, because you do see your Page Title Tags. They are in the tab at the very top of your browser when you are on your site.

If you are reading this on my web site, you will see Home Staging Business Tips at the very top, left hand side. If you were on your web page, you would see the title of your page there as well.

If the name of your company is “Staged Homes Sell” it shows up because in the hidden code on your page this is what is inserted as the of your page. To see your hidden code, right click on some where on your page where their isn’t an image.   A box will appear with a variety of labels. Click on “View Source” or “View Page source.” This will display the source code for your entire page. At the top of this code is the “Header” code. This is where several critical elements of your web page are placed. Including your title.

If you live in Minneapolis, like I do and your company is called “Staged Homes Sell” you will see code that reads: <title>Staged Homes Sell</title>

My tip for you is to change that code slightly. Change it to: <title>Staged Homes Sell in Minneapolis</title>

By adding the “in Minneapolis” you provide the search engines with important information.

They will now be more likely to post your web site in the top of the listings when someone searches for stage and or Homes and also use word Minneapolis.

We will discuss this more in a future article.

Geographical keywords added to your business keywords are a surprisingly under appreciated way to get a higher rankings in the search engines. The first place to make this change is in your Title Tags.

Not only will it help you get higher rankings, when people see your page, it gives them a better sense that you are like them, local. And that helps build your standing in their eyes by virtue of affinity.

More on this tomorrow. And don’t forget to sign up for information on Market Maker.

Money maker is specifically designed for the Home Staging Industry and will put your web marketing on auto pilot and pay for itself!

Go to

Word to the wise. Market Maker is a powerful tool that will give participants a competitive advantage in their market place.  Its power could be diluted if everyone in a local market used its techniques, therefore it will be made available on a first come first served basis. Initially it will be limited to just 30 participants and they will all need to be from different telephone area codes.  If someone in your area beats you to the punch you may need to wait a year before being able to access its powerful features.

You are getting a head up on this as a reader of my blog. Take advantage of that and sign up now to get a shot at being at the head of the line when it launches sometime next week.

Technorati Tags: geographical keywords, getting traffic, Meta Tags, page title tags, SEO

Getting people to find your web site.

Listen to the Pod Cast

Getting People To Find Your Web Site

There are many ways to market ones home staging business. Most of them are enhanced by having a good web site where you can refer interested people to learn more about you and your business.

That way, when you give a talk to a church group or Chamber of Commerce luncheon you can give people a web page to visit.

But you can also get a lot of free traffic from people surfing the web for information on home staging, if your site is properly set up so it can be found.

Unfortunately, most home staging web sites are not easy to find, because they have not been optimized for search engine traffic. About 85% or all web traffic results from searches on search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and a myriad of others.

If you were to enter the words “home staging” into Google today you would get over 6 million responses. The top 10 names on the page get the vast majority of actual page views, the others 6 million don’t, and that includes your page.

That means that 85% of the people searching for a home stager are unlikely to see your page at all. That’s lost business. Business you could have a shot at…if your web pages were properly optimized to get the search engines attention.

There is an entire industry devoted to Search Engine Optimization or “SEO.”

But there are some simple steps anyone can do, if you are willing to take action and make your web site more attractive to the search engines. If you do, you will get more traffic to your page. And that’s the first step. What you do with that traffic is another issue. But first things first.

In the next week I will be posting a series of articles on SEO. This is a prelude to the release of a major new product. The exact release date and time is being held under wraps for now.

The new product is called Market Maker. Not everyone that wants to will be allowed to join when it releases. I encourage you to sign up for additional information at

Today, I want to let you know how easy it is to begin to find keywords that apply to your business and website. In later articles I will tell you how to use these keywords, for that’s where the magic of SEO takes place.

There are a lot of expensive paid keyword tools, but the best free tool is Google’s.
Go to
In the middle of the page, you will see a blank box with directions to enter a single word or phrase. Type in the word “Home Staging.”

Make sure the box that says synonyms is checked.

Then you will need to enter the letters from the Captcha code that is there. This is to confirm you are a person and not a computer or robot.

Then click get keyword ideas.

When I did this recently I got 127 keywords related to Home Staging and another 73 related terms. Not all of these are appropriate for a home stager looking to find customers. But many are. This is because different people will use different terms to search for you. If your web site is only set up to attract some of these keywords, you won’t stand a chance of showing up in the results the search engines return at all.

There is a lot more to say about all this, and it does matter. If your web site is properly optimized to get traffic from all the relevant keywords and your competitor across town isn’t you will get more business.

If your competitor’s website is properly optimized and yours isn’t you will loose out on business you could be getting.

If you’re not turning away customers today because you are too busy, you may want to consider making the effort to understand keywords and how they apply to your web site.

More on this tomorrow. And don’t forget to sign up for information on Market Maker.

It is designed to put your web marketing on auto pilot and to pay for itself!

Go to

Best wishes,

Earl Netwal

Technorati Tags: Home Staging, homestaging, Homestagingbusinesstips, Market Maker, SEO

New Techniques for marketing houses

One of the best ways to build traffic to your web site is to post articles to article directories like eZine Articles.  When they are picked up by other bloggers and ezine publishers, they provide a back link to your site, which Google and the other search engines notice.  This suggests that your content must be worhtwhile and not just some spam.

For the coming few weeks at least I will be posting articles I find that appear to have merit.

I will also be posting about my upcoming product launch due on St Particks day to Market Maker, which is an effective home staging marketing program that can pay for itself.  Be sure to watch for details.

I will be posting a couple pod casts about it in the near future.

If you have any comments be sure to leave them.

Now for today’s article by Jeanette J. Fisher…

New Techniques for marketing houses.

New techniques for marketing houses, fresh, new interior design home staging ideas, will help sell your home faster, and for a higher price than the competition.

What do home buyers want? They want a home that meets their needs. However, they’ll eventually buy the home that makes them FEEL happy and will impress their friends, because they also want to be proud of the home they’ve chosen. Your choice of decorating colors, patterns, textures, and furnishings will influence the way a prospective buyer feels, and the buyer’s feelings will impact their choice of housing.

Home Staging with Design Psychology, unlike traditional interior design, brings into play:

* Color instead of bland white walls

* Furnishings for feelings

* Props to entice buyers

COLORS help you sell your home to your target market. One mistake many real estate agents make is to tell sellers to paint everything white. White may look clean, but it does little to make a buyer feel as if they “just can’t live without the home.” White walls also don’t create cheerful feelings, and even worse, white walls don’t make most people look good. Buyers will ultimately buy the home that makes them feel happy while making them look great at the same time.

As for FURNISHINGS, use cozy-snuggly pieces in cooler weather and fewer furnishings during hot, steamy months, in order to encourage a buyer’s emotional response. When a buyer sees your home as a sanctuary from the hectic and harsh world, you’ll sell that home.

PROPS include things such as paintings, to add depth and make the rooms feel bigger, and flowers or plants, in the right emotional colors for the season.

Costs of Transforming Your Home into a Buyer’s Dream House

Most home sellers can invest about $500 to spruce up their home for a quick sale, and a little paint and a little sweat will go a long way. To save some money, check out Restore, which is Habitat for Humanity’s thrift store, for building supplies. They carry “oops paint” and lighting fixtures for next to nothing. If you decide to replace carpeting, appliances, and other big ticket items, transformation costs for completely going through a house can cost up to $8,000 for an average home.

Home Staging to Sell Faster for More Money

Always consider your target market and their emotional needs. First-time buyers want shelter and security, while move-up buyers desire prestige and peace. After you’ve cleaned and shined your home, set the stage. Add a few props, carefully selected to encourage a prospective buyer’s desired emotions and paying special attention to happiness, joy, serenity, and security. Putting a little extra effort into the marketing your home will pay off with a faster sale and a bigger paycheck at closing.

Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher

Learn about Home Staging from an interior design teacher. Jeanette Fisher offers free Home Staging Information and telesemiars. Find out how to profile your prospective home buyer and set the stage for a top dollar, faster sale. Sell Your Home Fast:

Technorati Tags: eZine Articles, Market Maker, Marketing Houses

Paint Colors That Sell – 7 Tips to Choosing Colors Buyers Will Love

I’m color illiterate. Thus I found this article on choosing colors buyer will love to be worthwhile. It’s another in my series of articles prepared by home stagers. These tips and tricks spread out on the the internet are helpful to the posters and to the general public and to home staging in general. I may sound like a broken record, on the topic, but article writing is one of the best things you can do to build the industry and your own business. I hope you enjoy this article by Tasha Moody. I did. I like the idea of putting a little color in things.

There you are, touring a new listing in the perfect location, with the right number of bedrooms and the best school district. It’s the only one in your price range, and while it’s clean and new and generally de-cluttered, you just can’t get past the master bathroom seeming uninviting and the finished basement feeling a bit dark. As much as you’d like for it to be, it just isn’t “the one.” No offers today.

Unfortunately what that seller failed to realize is that a simple change in paint colors would have been the missing link to clenching an offer, all for the cost of a can of paint. Choosing the right paint colors is a critical step in preparing a home for sale and is one of the biggest players in the emotional connection (or lack thereof) that a buyer makes with a property. What are those perfect paint colors for helping sell houses? Well, that’s the million dollar question that can be very difficult to answer if you don’t know color. Read on for some basic tips that will get you on the path to choosing the right colors for staging a home:

1. Neutral is great, but all beige is boring
A common real estate misconception is that painting the walls white or beige throughout the entire home will give the buyers a “blank slate.” Problem is, it usually turns out to be a very boring, unmemorable blank slate that rarely results in increased profits or a faster sale. While beige is much safer than super bright or very bold colors, having a variety of color within the right palette is ideal. However, using a warm beige or tan such as Shaker Beige by Benjamin Moore in the common areas (hallways, stairwells, foyers, etc.) is recommended.

2. Stick with earth-toned varieties of tan, green, yellow, blue and grey
For example, when looking at greens stay in the sage, celery or rosemary ranges. Or when thinking of yellow go with the more buttery or golden tones as opposed to the brighter varieties. Look to the types of tones and shades you see in nature most often and mimic those in your color choices.

3. Either the walls or the décor should take the stage – but not both
If your living room has dark brown leather and walnut-toned furniture, you’ll need to go with a lighter tone on the walls to balance. Likewise, if you have a maple dining room set and white fabric upholstered chairs, you’ll need a warmer color on the wall and complimentary place settings/centerpiece to ensure the room doesn’t appear washed out. Consider your furniture, cabinetry, artwork, flooring and counter tops when choosing the shade of paint.

4. If in doubt, go with the lighter option
If you’ve narrowed your options to two or three colors and all would make great choices, a rule of thumb is to pick the lighter option when going to sell. While deeper tones can make fabulously enticing rooms, they can be tricky. If you aren’t working with a home stager or color consultant it’s better to air on the side of safe, rather than chance overwhelming the seller.

5. Green, red and yellow are appetizing colors
Sage green, apple red and golden yellow are great colors for dining rooms and kitchens because they evoke appetite. Red is definitely the trickiest of the three to use effectively without overwhelming a room, but if combined with the right furniture and accents it makes for a very appealing color. Yellow is a cheery color that encourages conversation. Green is a combination of appetizing and soothing, making it popular with many different types of people and in several different rooms of the home.

6. Cool colors like blue and green have soothing, spa-like appeal
Use a gray-blue in a bathroom with an orchid by the sink and a stack of fluffy towels by the tub, or sage green in a bedroom with white bedding and dark wood furniture for a soothing, harmonious appeal. Some studies have shown that blue and green actually have healing properties such as lowering heart rate and blood pressure! Try “Iced Marble” or “Mosaic Tile” by Benjamin Moore.

7. Order a sample can
When you have decided on your colors and picked the shade you feel is best, always pick up a $5 sample can of paint and test it on a decent-sized area of several walls with different lighting in the room to ensure it works on the grander scale. This small investment will save you a lot of time and energy in the end, as tiny paint swatches can often be deceiving.

Good Luck!

Tasha Moody is a certified Home Staging Expert and President of Simply Staged, an Atlanta home staging company. Go to to learn about the 27 BEST staging colors that consistently help sell the listings Tasha stages. Order your own paint fan of the colors with oversized swatches and details of which room the color works best in for just $25 so you can start recommending paint colors with confidence! Choosing beautiful paint colors has never been so easy.

Article Source:

Technorati Tags: colors, Paint

Why Aren’t People Calling You to Stage Their Homes?

Listen to this Audio Post on Why People Aren’t calling you to stage their homes.

3 Reasons People Don\’t Buy

Last week, internet marketing expert Frank Kern launched a new product that sold for $2,000 each. In less than 24 hours he sold 2,000 units.  That’s $4,000,000 in one day.  Not too shabby.

Who would have thought you could sell such an expensive product to so many people so fast in today’s economy? How did he do it?  Well, that is actually the information Frank was selling.  How to sell goods and services on the internet.

Part of Frank’s success stems from his willingness to share a good deal of valuable information with his prospects before he launches his product, and I am going to share one of the key tidbits he  offered with you today.

Frank would say there are just three reasons people aren’t buying your home staging services today.

  • They Don’t Want It
  • No Money
  • Don’t Trust or Believe you

They Don’t Want It.

Some never will want your services. And while others just need to be educated a little, it’s a mistake according to Frank to be spending too much time on people who don’t want your services.  Instead look for ways to market to people who do.

No Money

Frank makes a more important point here. While no money may mean no money, it usually means that they don’t want it badly enough.  If people are telling you they don’t have the money, you haven’t yet found a way to increase their desire.   You may need to focus more of your marketing efforts on what’s in it for them.

For your home owner, it may be a higher sales price, or a quicker sales, but it also may be just getting help doing everything that needs to be done to get ready for the big move.

Make sure you are clear on the real motivations of those you have already worked with, and then share these with those you hope to work with.

Don’t Trust/Believe You.

Your prospect needs to not only believe that your services will benefit them, they need to trust that you are someone they can work with.  Someone they like.

While credentials may help, social proof is far more effective. A list of past homes staged, testimonials from happy customers are powerful tools to help bridge the trust gap.  These should be part of your standard presentation.

But in addition, you should find ways to reach out to your prospects and share. Provide them with good useful information, and keep in touch over time.

Little gifts in the form of useful information on how to prepare for a move, provided via luncheon talks to a local church group or social group not only give you visibility and credibility, it offers value.

Little gestures along this line, activate a sense of reciprocity, in which the recipient begins to feel a bit of an obligation to return the favor.  This can lead to you at least getting a chance to bid a project.

I recommend that home stagers web sites offer a free gift that viewers can download, and then follow up with over time with a series of additional tips. This helps build that reciprocity response, and more importantly helps build a sense of friendship. And we tend to trust our friends.

Technorati Tags: Home Staging, Home staging marketing tips, Internet marketing, marketing

Bill Boards Belong on Freeways not Back Alleys

Have you ever passed by a blank billboard on a backwater highway with a 1-800 number on it? Or perhaps one saying, “Your message here?” I have, but it’s been a while since the last time. Mostly I suspect, because I seldom venture off the main freeways in my normal travels these days.

In past years, I did a bit more traveling to smaller towns in out-state Minnesota and Wisconsin and I would see a fair number of them. Mostly on roads that used to be the main thoroughfare in the pre-freeway era. I suspect a good many of them still exist.

In those traveling days I used to consult with towns and counties on how to attract businesses to their communities. Today, I consult with businesses on how to attract customers. Same business, different focus.

A billboard is a marketing device some businesses use to attract customers. It’s like a display ad in a newspaper or magazine. It provides a graphic image and perhaps some keywords to people who happen to be passing by. On the highway, in their cars. In the newspaper or magazine as one’s eyes pass from one article or story to the next, one page to the next.

They have a hard job to do. They need to make an impression on your conscious or sub conscious mind quickly. It must be the sub conscious the advertiser is aiming for because there are very few such images that ever really capture my conscious mind’s attention.

Now as a kid, I remember the old Burma Shave signs because they were different and funny. I remember a number of teaser campaigns over the years that had me guessing as to what was coming next, but I can’t remember what any of them were about at the moment. I admit that I do notice some of the new billboard campaigns from time to time when they change along one of my regular routes. But I don’t remember ever buying something because I saw a billboard, do you?

My uncle Urban had a billboard on the highway from the Minneapolis to St. Cloud where he had a butcher shop. The sign read, “Gaida’s Meats” with a sausage on on fork that protruded above the sign. It was a clever enough visual effect, breaking out of the box. I suspect he got at least occasional comments from customers in the store about it. Particularly when it was new. But I doubt it brought in any new customers. It may have, however, brought in a few more existing customers. Not because it made his product any more valuable, but because it created status. A sense of importance because everyone who lived in St Cloud saw it whenever they returned home from a trip to the cities.

In my uncle Urban’s eyes the sign wasn’t meant for people from Minneapolis that happened to be going to St Cloud, it was for people from St Cloud who happened to have traveled to the Twin Cities. They would be coming back on this road. And that’s where he placed his sign.

Now I’m talking about billboards today, because in many ways they are like a business website. The clever ones may catch my attention as I browse through many related sites online. But only if they are on the highway I am traveling. If I am on the freeway, and the web site is on a dusty county road, I will never see it. And no matter how cute, creative or otherwise inspired it may be, it may as well not exist at all. It may as well be blank. In my book, it’s not even worth a toll free call to find out how much someone wants to put my message on it.

When it comes to online advertising, far too many people have spent all their effort coming up with a great image and feel for their sites and not given any thought to whether to put their site on a freeway where it will be seen by thousands or on a dirt road where only the crows and gophers will see it.

On the internet, the way you get in front of the traffic from Minneapolis to St Cloud is to make sure the keywords in your meta tags put you on the right highway. In addition, you need to use those same keywords in your message – in the body of your web pages.

This is particularly easy for local businesses, and a bit more difficult for those who compete on a national scale.

If my uncle still had his butcher shop, I would encourage him to use St Cloud Butcher Shop, St. Cloud Meats, Saint Cloud Butcher Shop, Stearns County Butcher Shop, Benton County Butcher Shop, and Polish Sausage as just a handful of maybe several hundred keywords in his meta tags.

In fact, I would take every conceivable term like meat, sausage, etc., and pair it with every conceivable geographical term that people in the area might use to find what they were looking for in a computer search. I call such terms geographical long tail keywords. And they are designed to mimic the actual phrases people might type into their search engine. While they might type “sausage” the first time, when they see over 20 million responses they will quickly find a geographical term to narrow their search if they are looking for a place like my uncle’s where they can get good Polish sausage.

And yet if you look at most business web pages you will see terms like plumber, attorney, dentist, groceries, resort, bait, or what have you in their meta tags. Such keywords are worthless. But so too is having Minneapolis, or Saint Cloud, or New York.

As my frequent readers know, I have been working with the Home Staging Industry for the past 9 months or so. As I dug deeper into the keywords that people actually use, I have grown a list of 124 terms for the home staging industry. Most were fairly obvious, others less so. I have been offering a service to the industry where I concatenate the various keywords I have researched together with the relevant geographical modifiers for individual home stagers. It gets a bit tedious and time consuming. But the result has been a block of keywords that puts my client’s web pages on the internet freeway, while their competitors are advertising their business on the dusty back roads of the internet where no one goes.

Where do you want your billboard to be? If it’s appropriate for your business, follow my example and create a series of geographical long tail keywords. It will make a difference in how often your potential customers find you. It also will make it far more likely that you get top ranking for a keyword phrase when you are the only person who has taken the time and effort to include in in your keywords.

Don’t forget that you also want to incorporate as many of the major terms into the body of you text as well. So if you are a Homestager in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, make sure to say so in the text of your web page as well as in the meta tags.

Technorati Tags: advertising, geographical long tail keywords, Keywords, marketing, Meta Tags, websites

Do you need two web sites?

Within the internet marketing world, people have ten’s and hundreds of web sites. Each with a different URL and each targeted to a specific niche or purpose. That permits each web site to be addressed to a particular audience. And since the site is targeted, so too are the keywords, which means these sites tend to rank higher than if they were attempting to be all things to all people.

Off line businesses and those firms operating online in niche arenas should consider whether or not they too would benefit from multiple web sites.

I will once again use my friends in the Home Staging Industry as an example of a situation where two web sites may make a lot more sense that one.

If you go to most home stagers web sites you will see that they are primarily directed to the home owner. But if you were to survey home stagers as I have done, you will see that most of them market not to home owners but to Realtors, who they hope will refer home sellers to them.

This means the Home Staging company has two different marketing objectives. One is to convince realtors that they can help sell a home faster and for more money, and the second is to convince the home owner that they can help sell a home for more money and faster. While it appears to be the same objective, it’s not.

For the home stager, the sale to the individual home owner is critically important, but represents just one sale. The sale to the Realtor, might not in itself win any direct business, but represents a series of prospective future business.

Home stagers offer two primary benefits to their customers, faster sales and higher price. While both are important to home sellers and to Realtors, the relative ranking between the two vary. A home owner is more likely to be impressed with the prospects of a higher price, as any such higher price will help pay for the services they are being asked to cover. For a Realtor, the higher price may mean a marginal improvement to their commission. More important to them, is the speed with which a home sells, so they can go on to the next.

Now while both share same objectives their motivations differ. To be most efective, the sales pitch to either market should lead off with their primary motivation. That in turn calls for two web pages, and two marketing pitches.

This is going to be true for any business that markets to distributors as well as final customers. And probably many more circumstances as well.

How about your business. Do you have multiple audiences you are marketing to?

If so, you really should be thinking in terms of multiple rifle shots rather than a blunderbust shotgun spread.

Most businesses try to accomplish this with multiple pages on one web sie. And this may be an adequate compromise in some cases, but it is always a compromise, and an opportunity for a competitor to step in and out compete you.

One objection has been the need to buy multiple domain names and hosting accounts. And while this is a pound wise penny foolish objection, the fact is that with the right hosting service there is no need to pay any more to host a second, third, fourth, or even twentieth web site.

It would take me a while to sit down and even count the total number of web sites I have. And they are all on one account. And that account costs me less than $25 a month. I use HostGator

They offer me the opportunity to have an unlimited number of web sites on one account and enough bandwith to cover my needs and that of most small business people. These can be readily stepped up should my increased use of video require a future adjustment.

I mention the hosting problem, as just one barrier to having multiple sites. A second site, probably means reworking the first and then adding the second. This will take some site design work and of course that entails a one time expense. But the final result is a more clearly targeted marketing campaign, and better marketing results.

I would have two “ethical bribes,” one each on each of the two new web sites to build a separte email list of prospective home owners and Realtors. Using my home staging example, I might offer a report on how to de-clutter your home on the web site directed to homeowners, and a different report on how to discuss home staging with your clients on the Realtor Oriented Web Site.

The prepackaged follow-up messages would be distinctly targeted as well.

It’s important to clarify your marketing objectives, and then to develop approriate marketing tools such as web sites and autoresponder porgrams to meet those objectives over time. If you need three web sites, you should have three.

What do you need?

Auto Reponders: The Magic In a Two Way Web Converstation

[note: this is a new chapter I will be adding to the resource section in my new free report, on Why Most Small Business Web Sites Stink.”  Thus while the examples I use are not directly tied to home staging, the content is applicable to home staging as well as most any business or non profit agency for that matter.]

Auto Responders:

The key component required to transform your current static web site into a marketing tool, is your auto responder. The service I use and recommend is Aweber, . It is by far the preferred service, and is used by most of the internet marketers I know.

While it’s possible to have a programmer develop an auto responder service on your own web site, using a professional service makes a lot more sense in the long run. First, it’s cheap. Rates will vary depending on how much traffic you generate, but as of my writing this, most small businesses will be able to start for well under $25 a month, even less if you take advantage of their annual payment plans.

There are a couple of things you should understand. Aweber uses what’s called a double opt in system. What this means is that when a person signs up to be on your mailing list, they are actually signing up on a form you create at Once Aweber gets their initial message, they send out a confirmation message to the email address registered. This asks your new subscriber to confirm that they want to be on your list. Your new list member must confirm, or they will not be included.

This accomplishes two things. First, it keeps people from putting in phony email addresses, just to get your free report. And more importantly, it serves to protect you against spam complaints when people register someone else’s legitimate email address instead of their own.

Aweber is a known entity in the internet marketing world, and it’s well known they use this double opt in system. Thus the folks who monitor and prosecute SPAM complaints are far less likely to raise any issues with you, even when someone forgets they signed up for your list and complains. This avoids problems you don’t need.

In addition to the double opt in feature, they automatically insert both an automatic “opt-out” link and your legal address at the bottom of each of your messages. This means you will always be compliant with the anti Spam laws, and your subscriber knows that they can stop your emails whenever they want. Best yet, if your subscriber decides they want to stop, all they have to do is click the link and it’s done automatically. You don’t need to be involved at all.

These peace of mind features make the monthly fee more than worthwhile by themselves.

But you get a lot more than peace of mind. Aweber offers a lot of features, more than I can cover here now. But lets lay out a few, for the sake of clarity.

First, you can have multiple lists, at no extra charge. You can have a list for those people who sign up on your web site. You can have another list for people who sign up because you add, an invitation to do so on you cash register receipt or invoice forms.

This may make sense as a way to conduct separate conversations with prospective customers who are first finding you online, as opposed to the conversation you want to have with people who are existing customers.

You may also want to use this capability to focus on different product lines. Say you are a restaurant that also does catering. You might have a sub list for the catering business in addition to a primary list that promotes your weekly or monthly specials.

This ability to run multiple lists is a great asset. It allows you to have multiple conversations going on, with multiple people at the same time. All on autopilot.

There is one more basic concept to get across regarding auto responders. There are two types of basic messages. The first is the follow-up message. These are written and stored in the system and are sent automatically once a person signs up for your list. The first one goes out immediately once they have confirmed that they want to be on the list. Then you can pre-schedule any number of additional lists as you wish. Depending on your particular needs, you may want to send a second message three days after they get the first one, and then maybe another in 3-5 days, and then weekly thereafter.

Some people set up mini courses on topics of interest to their customers. A Liquor store may for example create a series of posts on wines, or the characteristics of different beers they sell. A restaurant, may do recipes or cooking tips, etc. The key thing about follow-up messages is that they should be “Evergreen.” With any luck people will be signing up to your list every day from now till the end of time. You want messages that make sense no matter the time of year. So event though it may be Spring, when you are writing you messages, eventually it will be winter when someone joins your list. All of these follow-up messages are sent sequentially based on the number of days since the person signed up on your list. So on any given day you will have message 1 going out to newly signed up people, message 3 going out to people who signed up last week, and message 14 going out to people who maybe signed up four months ago.

The second type of message is the Broadcast. This is sent to all people no matter when they signed up. This type of message is ideal for sending out messages about this week’s specials, of attractions for the coming month, or holiday greetings. If you are a dentist and want to let your patients know to schedule their appointments prior to you upcoming two week vacation cruise, you send them a broadcast message six weeks in advance and then again periodically up until you send them a message on who to contact in case of an emergency.

The best part of this, is that you can pre-schedule broadcast messages. Thus if you want, you can send a Happy New Years message for exactly at midnight next year right now.
If you have a three month advertising plan, you can schedule all your broadcasts for the coming three months at one time, and then forget about it. The messages will be sent automatically, and your customers will get you messages and respond and it won’t cost you any more than the cost of your auto responder and the time to write the messages.

There are other more advanced features available once you have you system up and running. For example you can do split testing to see which of your ads get a better response, and there are ways to tie your blog posts into the process and even pod casts. But such services are beyond the scope of this report.

Again the service I recommend is

They offer a series of helpful tutorials which should be more than adequate to get you up and running in no time. I am also available to assist you. Contact me at

Technorati Tags: auto responder, Aweber, Internet marketing, marketing, web pages

Most Business Web Sites Stink! Free Report – Download Now!

I just completed my newest report, called “Most Business Web Pages StinK!” subtitled, Web Sites are like Trade Shows. Readers of this blog will soon realize this is a recompilation of five previous blog posts on the Trade Show theme. The current version is number 1.2, I am working on 1.3 which will be revisions after my wife gets done proof reading it, and a resources section at the end.

I intend to use this as an eye opener for hopefully thousands of Home Stagers and other small business people. In these tough economic times it only makes sense to better utilize all of our existing resources such as out web sites.

And since upgrading them is not difficult or expensive, it makes even more sense.

Let me know if you need my help.

Technorati Tags: interactive web sites, Internet Fundamentals, Internet marketing, list building, opt in, web pages

Is your Web Site a Billboard on a Desolate Highway?

A decade ago, small businesses flocked to the internet. It was going to transform the way business is done and they wanted to be part of it. And many are today quite disappointed and perhaps philosophical about how their web pages didn’t do diddly squat.

While there is no doubt the internet has changed how business is done today, for most businesses all that changed is they now have an internet Yellow Pages add in addition to there actual listing.

The only people that go to their web site are people who already know about their business, and are jsut checking for a phone number or the times we are open.

While that’s certainly not true of all businesses, it is true for a good many, how about you?

I’ve been preaching on three major topics here about why I think most business web sites stink.

* Most aren’t using their ability to list their business in multiple categories.
* Most have just a billboard, or an electronic brochure and not an interactive site
* Why most web sites are so bad, even when you paid good money for them.

In my prior posts on this blog, I have tried to use the trade show as a metaphor as to what the role of your web pages should be. I encourage you to look back at my past postings and read them.

In the last few days, I have been focusing on how most web sites I’ve reviewed lately have poor and often no keywords.

If you were able to afford it, and were in the wall paper business, you might buy a yellow pages ad under wall paper, and maybe under decorating or a number of other yellow page headings. Most businesses don’t as its very expensive to do so, even with multiple category discounts.

With your web pages, you don’t need to pay extra to be listed in multiple categories. You just need to do a systematic listing of all relevant keywords that your possible customers might use in an effort to find you.

This may take a little time and effort, but once done, it will pay tremendous rewards in additional traffic and potential new business.

You may have thought your web designer would have done this for you. But unfortunately most web designers are not marketers. They tend to be graphic artists or techno geeks. Great at creating web pages, but not necessarily at getting your web site to generate the business you had hoped it would.

Technorati Tags: Internet marketing, Keywords, marketing, Meta Tags, web pages

599 home staging keywords will draw more web site visitors

So far, I haven’t found a single home staging web site with good keywords in the meta tags of their web site.

This is a big mistake, as these meta tags are what almost everybody other than Google uses to find web sites to display.  And while Google may have the largest chunk of web search, they certainly don’t have it all. And with the older demographic that is most likely to use the services of home stagers they may even have a lesser share of the pie. That’s cause most older folk are likely to use the search tool that comes with their computer. My wife for example has Yahoo on hers. While she may say she is going to “Google” something, she actually uses Yahoo.  Yahoo uses meta tags. So does MSN, ASK and virtually everybody but Google.

I have created a base list of some ten dozen key words people often use to search for home stagers in their market. I add or subtract a few depending on the scope of service of the individual home stager, and then incorporate geographical elements to come up with a comprehensive set of what I call, “geographical long tail keywords.”  These are the phrases people actually use to search for you.

Every business should have these in the hidden meta tags that the search engine “bots” see, but no one else does. Unfortunately most web site developers are techies, and not marketers, and they often don’t have a clue as to what they should put in there.

For an industry like Home Stagers, where I have already done the Keyword research, I charge $75 for a compiled list of keywords. I have a few simple questions that Home Stagers need to answer, and then I can generally get their completed keyword lists done in 24 hours or less, depending on what’s on my plate that day.

Until the end of January, I am offering a $40 discount as part of my Recession Fighter effort, (Yours and Mine) So if you would like more people to find your web site, drop me an email, and I will give your web page a look see. If it needs the work, and so far they all have, I will let you know and submit my list of Q’s.

But hurry, I will raise the price to $75 effective February 1st.

email me at with any questions.

Technorati Tags: geographical long tail keywords, homestaging, Keywords, long tail keywords, Meta Tags

Recession Fighter Discount for Web Site Code “Tweak”

If you read my home staging survey analysis, or listened in on the tele-seminar I conducted last year on how to make web pages better, you will know that I think most Home Stagers are not setting up their web sites properly.

I am not a web page designer. So I am not interested in revamping them, but I do have two suggestions that apply to most home stagers, in fact they apply to most small business web pages period.

Today, I am making a special recession fighting offer to help you resolve the easiest of the two. But first let me explain why this problem exists, even on web sites you may have paid someone thousands to develop.

Most web designers are great at the techie end of the game. They may even be good at graphics and have a sense of design. But while they may be good at those things, few of them understand marketing. I suspect if you’ve been in the home staging game a while, you know people who may be great at home staging but not so great at marketing. (Maybe you are one of them.)

In the hidden code that’s behind each of your web site pages, there is code that the search engines see, that no one else does. In the past two weeks, I have randomly checked about a dozen home stagers web sites and found that almost all of them had opportunities for improvement, – but not all.

Another reason many techies don’t pay attention to this is that Google no longer looks at some of this code when they rank web pages. However most search engines still do, including Yahoo and all the other major players. Since you have no control over the search engines your prospective customers use, it’s a real mistake to ignore this very sizable source of business.

So for the month of January I will, on a time available basis, examine your home staging web page free of charge. All you need do is send me an eMail with a link to your web site. I will check to see whether or not your web site would benefit from a “tweak.”

If it does, I will let you know and send you a very brief questionnaire to fill in. If you decide to proceed, I will prepare the appropriate code for just $35 rather than the $75 minimum I normally charge. You save $40 and get more traffic to your web page for years to come. If any one of them uses your services, you’re sitting pretty.

Now the fly in the ointment is that I cannot make the actual change for you. I will compile the code and email it to you, but you will need to post it to the site yourself, and/or have your Web site person do so. This shouldn’t cost you anything, as it’s a very simple process to upload it, but it does require having access to your web site host and your passwords.

The tweak I am proposing won’t change anything about the way your page looks, but it will ensure that more people find <strong>your page </strong>when they are looking for a home staging professional in your market.

I am willing to do this for other small businesses as well, if I have time. Drop me and email and I will do my best to include you.

This offer expires no later than the end of January, but I may pull it earlier. It costs you nothing for the free look see on my part, so drop me an email today.

Email to and put “Free Tweak Peek” in the subject line.

Technorati Tags: Home Staging, Home Staging Web pages, Meta Tag Fix, Meta Tag Review, Meta Tag Tweak, Meta Tags

Web Pages are like a Trade Show: Consider the Crowd

This posting was originally written earlier this week and posted on my MicroBusinessSpecialist Blog, but genesis of this entire effort grew out of my work with Home Stagers last summer. At that time I discovered that most Home Stagers web pages were very pretty but also often pretty ineffective.  This is the first of a five part series.

I had trouble sleeping last night.

My head was working on a speech, I will give to my Toastmaster Group Thursday morning. I’ve decide to talk about why I think most small business’s web pages stink.

I’ve been toying with the content of this speech for a couple of weeks now. I know why I think they stink, but have been having trouble coming up with a hook and a word picture I can use to convey my message.

The added difficulty is that I need to compress my comments into a 5-7 minute time frame.

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find the right formula, and so I did a lot of tossing and turning despite my best efforts to just forget it and sleep.

Eventually, I did, and lo and behold as I woke in the morning, in those luxurious moments before I actually woke, the winning concept occurred to me.

It’s hard on my beauty to sleep this way, but I do come up with much of my speeches at night.

A web page is very much like a trade show.

But unlike a trade show, where most businesses would have a sales person up front to greet and engage passersby, most web pages use a deaf mute to do the same task.

This week I will work on this concept. Today let’s look at the crowd at the trade show and compare them to web browsers who may chance on your web sites.

Imagine a typical home improvement show or similar trade show. Think of the crowd. They are like web browsers. There are a lot of different reasons someone might be at a trade show. For some it is simply an outing, a form of entertainment or exercise. Some are there to get ideas, or maybe looking for comparison products, or alternative suppliers. Some want information on prices, or learn about features or other options they may want to consider. A few may even have come to the show to actually buy something. This last group is probably a minority.

So too, with web browsers. If you are a business on or off line, most of the people who walk past your booth or browse by your web page are not actively looking to buy.

If you are to meet the needs of those people actively looking to buy, you need to give them the information they need and and the means to actually do so.

If your web page does this, you may have met the needs of the active buyer, but what about the others, those not quite ready to make a purchase?

Has your web site met their needs to the point that they will come back to you when they are ready to buy?

When you think of the crowd at the trade show, they tend to be moving in some sort of circle, streaming through the displays, browsing as they go. Often overloaded in stimuli as each exhibitor tries to attract their attention. If they are like me, they pass most booths with scarcely a glance, unless something grabs them and then holds their attention.

Same to with a web site. I don’t know what the actual number is, but many people suggest you have but 2-3 seconds to catch the crowds attention with your web site. And even then, you have an uphill battle to keep them at the site. That’s why I like the web sites the folks at David Goes Online produce for small businesses. As part of their deal, they are offering a free video, that gives their site some stickiness.

But that is getting into the next discussion which is on the booth exhibitors set up. In future blog posts I will also discuss the ethical bribes they offer to convert traffic into leads and then the follow-up they do, once they have the lead. And most importantly I will discuss why they don’t hire the handicapped. Why they don’t use deaf and dumb sales people to meet and greet their visitors, and why I think most business web pages do.

Technorati Tags: Internet marketing, web design, web pages

Home Staging Survey Results Price Reduced

I have reduced the prices on the executive summary of my home staging survey results as well as the full report.  This survey done in June and July of 2008 provided significant insights into the practical business issues facing independent home stagers as they conducted their business.

For some insights into the finding visit my Squidoo page on the subject  (you may purchase the reports for the Squidoo page is you wish.)  The link is

I have also begun a series of articles comparing web sites to trade shows on my blog.  Some of the background thinking for the series came out of the realization that most home stagers had very pretty but largely ineffective web sites.

It turns out that this is a problem not restricted to home stagers.  I commented about it in my survey results, and on a special teleseminar I conducted for home stagers last year.

Since then, I have decided to move more dramatically into the role of internet marketing consultant for micro businesses.  It is just too easy and too inexpensive to transform an existing web site into a far more productive one, to allow so many businesses to continue to miss the boat.

Free Internet Video Squeeze Page Offer – Worth Grabbing!

Hi there,

Here’s an interesting blog post for you..

When videos started to grow popular on the Internet in
the past couple of years, the Internet Marketing
landscape started to change.

Affiliate Marketing was not exempted, either.

The most classic mistake people tend to make in
affiliate marketing is not capturing the opt-in leads
first before sending their visitors to the merchant’s

So what smart marketers often do is that they would
have their own Squeeze Page for the visitors to opt
into their list, before sending them to the website
they are an affiliate for.

This is so the affiliate marketer can build his own
opt-in list and do his follow-ups later.

A few but exceptionally smarter marketers, on the other
hand, take this to the next level.


You probably notice most top Internet Marketing experts
are now using videos on their Squeeze Pages. And
smarter affiliates are also doing the same for their
own, for one obvious reason:


Unfortunately, the problem with video marketing is that
to begin with, you have to know how to make your own

And even if you could do your own videos, what if you
learn that the affiliate program doesn’t convert well
for you after all?

Affiliate Power Videos remove all these barriers.

=>Get Over 10 FREE Affiliate Video Squeeze Pages!

At Affiliate Power Videos, you get 10 unique, high
converting Video Squeeze Pages, and 5 new ones every

So all you have to do is:

Step 1: join any or all of the listed affiliate
programs (free)

Step 2: Upload the video and squeeze pages to your web

Step 3: Start driving in traffic, build your opt-in
list and rake in affiliate sales!

You might be thinking that this is going to be a costly
monthly membership – maybe $97, $197 or even $297 a

You’re going to be in for a pleasant surprise — this
one’s on the house (read: zero cost)!

Here it is again:

=> Get Over 10 FREE Affiliate Video Squeeze Pages!

Sign up for your free Silver membership access now and
don’t delay – because I know you could very well have
your own string of affiliate video businesses up and
running by tonight, with or without any technical
experience on your part!

Warm Regards,

Earl Netwal

P.S. If you want to find out how you can maximize your
traffic and sales conversions, I really urge you to
check out the One Time Offer too right after signing

=> Get Over 10 FREE Affiliate Video Squeeze Pages!

Technorati Tags: free video squeeze pages, Internet marketing, squeeze pages, video squeeze pages

PLR Gold Videos Great Way to Learn, and Make $ Sharing

Edmund Loh and Steven Luc have just released PLR Gold Videos.

Now Edward is one of a handful of marketers that has a stellar reputation for the quality of the PLR products he releases.

His past PLR Gold products have allowed me to create quite a few products and his quality is always first rate.

This time he has teamed up with Stephen Luc who is a video expert and voice over specialist. Together they have created one of the best PLR products I have seen in quite a while –

With the Private Label Rights to these videos, you can:

– Put your name or brand name on the videos,
– Change the titles, edit or voice over the videos,
– Set up 8 separate mini sites and sell as many copies as
you want with personal use rights,
– Use as content for paid membership site,
– A perfect incentive to go with a high ticket item such
as a seminar or home study course,
– Make your own product bundle and sell at a higher price,
– Offer the videos in your back-end offers,
– Sell the videos with Basic or Master Resell Rights, Much More within the terms…

Not only can you brand the videos as your own, you get the sales copy and graphics to each of them, making them very close to being a turnkey product.

They cover 8 hot topics.

1. Online Coppywriting Pro – 9 videos
2. Celebrity Blogging – 12 videos
3. Using Freelance Sites – 6 videos
4. Adobe PhotoShop for Newbies – 8 videos
5. Creating Web 2.0 Graphics using GIMP – 7 videos
6. Selling On eBay – 7 videos
7. Outsourcing Your Traffic Department – 6 videos
8. Responsive e-mail marketing – 8 videos

Click here to claim your copy of instant videos:

Edmund and Stephen are letting go the Private Label Rights to their newest collection of videos at an introductory price but it’s not going to be around forever.

In fact, the Early Bird Special is in effect only for the next 10 days or when the first 500 copies are sold out, whichever one comes first.

Secure your copy now:

To your success,

Earl Netwal
Micro Business Specialist

P.S. These are worth buying just to watch and learn. The ability to make a ton om money with them is just plain gravy. Don’t let this one pass you by.

P. P.S. Have you grabbed your gifts yet at The Halloween Giveaway? Only one day left don’t miss out.

Technorati Tags: PLR, Videos

Tweet Your Blog!

Would you like to earn auto-pilot commissions every time you post to your blog? And at the same time use the Power of Twitter to drive traffic to your blog.

I know it sounds like a fairy tale, but it just became reality, with the launch of John Merrick and Soren Jordansen’s new “Tweet My Blog”.

Just by using the powerful free plugin, you will be promoting your affiliate link on auto-pilot. In other words, you can earn commissions just for posting to your blog.

But that’s just one of the many benefits of using TweetMyBlog, visit the page to learn more – and grab your free copy today.

And… Even though they are giving this plugin away for free, you should take a close look at the special offer they have in store for you when join. I instantly grabbed my own copy, and I know it will skyrocket my marketing power when using Twitter and WordPress.

Just click on the image below to access this powerful new tool. -etn

Technorati Tags: blogging, Twitter

Blogging Tips for Business

The internet is no longer a new idea for business. Many businesses once enjoyed a first mover advantage by entering the online arena earlier than their competitors. Today, there are few fields left where just being online is providing a significant competitive advantage.

The internet has opened the market place to customers from around the world. And it has opened the marketplace to competitors from around the world. It is no longer enough to be online, a business to succeed must be able to drive traffic to their websites. In order to dominate a field it is increasingly important that businesses establish a blogging presence online.

While anyone can set up a blog easily and inexpensively, so can your competitors. But there is a lot more to blogging than first meets the eye.

Here are some useful tips that you can incorporate in your internet business:

• You must research and then use keywords effectively – your blog’s contents should reflect appropriate keywords. Effective keyword research can also place your blog and thus your business toward the top of the search engines.

• You want to stimulate Back Links to your blog. These are valuable – you have to give importance to back links. Your blog posts should be able to incorporate appropriate back links.

• More important than the frequency of your blog posts is their regularity. You must be able to post regularly if you want to be effective. If you forget to make posts, you will loose regular readers and possibly leave viewers with an impression that you are not truly up to speed in today’s internet world.

• While regularity is the key, your blogging efforts will be rewarded most if you post frequently and if the contents are interesting. With effective blogging, you can establish your online business reputation and, you can demonstrate to the world your business expertise. To gain a positive reputation, make sure that you post interesting and relevant blog posts.

These are the basic tips you must follow to be effective blogging. As you can see, blogging requires more than a slap dash approach. Most advisors online will tell you that blogs are not that hard to compose. They are right. However, according to expert bloggers, you need to consider the interests of the readers and online researchers.
Try to understand why they are coming to your blog in the first place.
Think more in terms of what they want to discover, and less about what you want to tell them. But be sure you do get your licks in. It’s all about how you frame your blogs attitude and conversational style.

Remember that once you start posting blogs on your business’ website, you have to post frequently (ideally at least once or twice a week) so that your customers and readers will not forget you or your business.

Blogging for business is one of the most effective means of making your business a success. Set up your blog now, you will profit in the future.

If you learn to become an effective blogger, your business will benefit. If you want to learn more about effective business blogging, you can easily conduct researches online because you can find a wealth of information there.

Technorati Tags: blogging

Help Readers Find Your Blog

Is your blog collecting dust and not getting enough traffic? It’s a common problem for bloggers. Their blogs are good, but no one is coming to visit. They want to know how to increase traffic. Increasing traffic is actually easier than it seems–provided you know how. In this newsletter, we will go over 7 specific methods of increasing traffic. These are guaranteed methods to draw more visitors to your blog.

Tip #1: Sign up for pinging services
It seems pretty obvious, but most bloggers, even those who are more experienced, don’t sign up for pinging services. If you’re new to blogging and don’t know what pinging means, pinging basically means that when your blog is updated, a “ping” is sent out by the service to let pinging sites know that your blog has been updated. People who are visiting sites with pinging services will then see your blog flash across the side of the screen as “newly updated”. Pinging services include Yahoo’s,, Google Blog search, and ZingFast.

Tip #2: Sign up for Technorati

If you go to, you’ll see an option on the left side of the screen to “Claim Your Blog”. Doing so allows you to get updated link counts, add your photo or branding to Technorati, and see your Technorati link. Having your blog claimed on Technorati helps to increase traffic because the
millions of people who go to that site will have a chance to see your blog on there.

Tip #3: Sign up for FeedBurner, a RSS service

What FeedBurner basically does for your blog is it helps you to promote your blog’s content, build your audience and measure your audience. In other words, it helps you increase your blog’s traffic.

Tip #4: Bookmark your blogs at places like

You can set up an account and profile at Then, using that, you can add links to your blog along with excerpts from your blog. Anytime someone visits your profile on, they will see a link to your blog and excerpts.

There are other social bookmarking sites that you can use in much the same way. The bottom line is, using these social bookmarking sites can help you increase traffic.

Tip #5: Post comments at other blogs

No, this doesn’t mean you should go and spam other blogs with comments that are only there to promote a site. It means that you should visit similar blogs to your own, post legitimate comments and then sign your name(along with a link to your blog). This way, people know you aren’t there just to promote your site–you’re there to post a good piece of feedback and also say where you’re from.

Tip #6: Ask owners of other blogs to post a link to yours

Find other blogs that are similar to yours. If they seem to be decently popular(that is, they have a good amount of comments for each post), you can try to contact the owner of the blog to add a link to your blog if they have a links section. To make them really want to do this, you can offer to link back to their blog on your blog. People do this reciprocal blog linking all the time and it does help to increase traffic.

Tip #7: Use keywords in your blog

Like regular web pages, having a good keyword density on a blog is a terrific way of getting search engine spiders to notice your page. (FYI: Search engine spiders are programs from search engines that browse sites and report back their findings to the search engine database, which then lists that site. The more keywords on your site, the more likely it is for a search engine spider to pay a visit)

If your average blog posting is around 200 words, try to use 2-6 keywords per blog post. 2-6 keywords in a blog posting of 200 words is a keyword density of between 1 and 3 percent, a respectable number. Remember that you don’t want to use too many keywords, as that will make your blog look bad. Also be sure that the keywords used are relevant to your blog. Before even making a blog posting, decide what the post will be about and then select a keyword or two to use in your post. Then do it.

It’s a surefire way of getting more traffic to your site!

To your success,

What’s That Pinging in Your Ears?

You’re a blogger and are constantly hearing about pinging. The
thing is, you don’t know what it is and what it can do for your
blog. Well that’s fine because a lot of bloggers don’t quite
understand pinging. In this newsletter, we will explain what
pinging is, how it helps your blog, and what the best pinging
services are. After you’ve read this newsletter, you’ll know
exactly how to use pinging to make your blog popular.

What is pinging?

When a blog is pinged, it essentially tells a web blog tracking
system that the blog has been updated. Thus, pinging is the
process of telling tracking services that a site has been

So how does pinging work? Well, a ping service scans regularly
blogs for updates. Whenever there is a new update for a
particular blog, that is reported back to the pinging service’s
site. You can almost think of ping services being just like
search engine spiders–both scan sites looking for information,
and both report that information back to their specific site.
The difference is, a ping service only reports back new blog

Why is pinging useful for my blog?

Pinging, in effect, tells people that there is a new blog
posting available. Those who are loyal followers of your blog
will see the ping and want to visit your blog. Those who haven’t
read your blog before will see the ping and perhaps think “hey,
there’s a new blog I haven’t been to before, I think I’ll check
it out”. Pinging helps to increase your traffic because it tells
people when your blog is updated. Those who visit sites with
pinging services will see this information in the form of a
scroll on the left or right side, or top of the page. The scroll
is usually in XML format and typically includes the title and
URL of your blog, as well as the date and time of the update.

OK, so now I know what pinging is. Who offers pinging?

The answer is, there are several pinging services available
which you can use to have your blog pinged. We’ll go over some
of them right now. is probably the most well-known pinging service. monitors sites for updates and then pings whenever
there is an update to report. Virtually every blog software is
available to use Weblogs.

Another popular pinging service. This one is offered by Yahoo
and has a built-in integration with movable type and other
tools. One cool thing about this service is that it offers the
ability to give out updates via Instant Messenging services like
AOL and ICQ. It is a direct pinging service, so those who sign
up for subscriptions to your blog will be sent an email anytime
your blog is updated.
Blogrolling allows its bloggers to manage their
blogrolls(updates) through a web-based interface. Recently
updated blogs are also highlighted on Blogrolling’s web site.
Data is automatically retrieved from other sites like and every 5 minutes. Often times your
blog is already being pinged by Blogrolling, so you might not
have to sign up for it. Search on the site first for your URL
before signing it up.


Available at, Technorati is
another service that pings blogs. It gets its data from a
variety of places and is definitely a site you should go to for
blog pinging.

These are just 4 of the many different blog pinging services
available. A quick search on Yahoo or Google will reveal many
other possible blog pinging services to use for your blog. It is
best to sign up for as many as you possibly can to ensure that
your blog is well-pinged. A well-pinged blog will definitely
help your blog attract more visitors. So sign up for as many as
possible and watch your blog traffic increase.

To your success,

Earl Netwal
Micro Business Specialist

Technorati Tags: blogging

Protect Your Blog From Spam Comments

Blogs are now an extremely popular and important part of the internet. Millions of people blog every day. As blogs have evolved over the years, so has the commenting system. Now anyone can make comments on a particular blog posting. As blog commenting has grown more popular, so has spam commenting. In
this newsletter, we’ll go over why comments are a great form of feedback for your blog, how they help the credibility of your content, what spam comments are and how to prevent them from happening.

Comments – A great form of feedback

When blogs first came around, they were simply online journals. No one could post comments on a blog posting. That all changed in 1998 with OpenDiary, a site which allowed people to comment on blog postings. Now every blog, whether it is remotely or self-hosted, includes this option to comment.

Commenting is great because it allows real people to tell you what they think about your form. It gives you feedback on what you are doing right and what you may need to improve. Comments can be encouraging to you and motivate you to post more quality blog messages. Or they can be constructive criticism to make you work harder to get better at writing content.

Whatever the style of comment is, it is still very useful to your blog. High numbers of comments have the ability to make a blog look credible because they show that the blog is being read by a lot of people. That’s something that every blog owner wants, and comments help to let them know just how many people enjoy their content.

Bad comments

Unfortunately, spammers have now started to use comments as a way to spam. How do you know what a spam comment is? Well, a spam comment is a comment that only advertises another site or product. If the comment seems bland/generic with a cheap link thrown in, then it’s definitely a spam comment.

Here is an example of a typical spam comment:  “Hey, this site is really cool. Check out my really cool site at”

Of course not all spam comments will be this blatant, but you get the point.

Fortunately for bloggers, as spam comments have grown, so has the ways to prevent it. Here are a couple ways that you can prevent spam comments from even being posted on your blog.
#1: Close off commenting on older blog posts There are options for you to stop comments from being posted on any particular blog post. Lots of times, spammers will post comments in weeks or months old posts. So take away this opportunity from them to keep it from happening. Most blog hosters now offer this as a standard option in the tool panel. If one of your posts has been up for a couple weeks, close it

#2: Take advantage of software offered to prevent comment spam If you host your own blog using WordPress, you can use an option in that software to prevent spam. Even if you aren’t using
WordPress, you can still use other Spam comment blocking software like Spam Karma, Akismet, and Bad Behavior. While these aren’t 100% effective, they have proven to be quite effective in preventing spam from happening.

#3: Take a look at your settings and see what can be tweaked to toughen your protection.  Lots of blogs now have settings to help prevent spam. If you already have a spam blocker on in your blog and are still
experiencing spam, take a closer look at the settings to see if there’s anything that can be tweaked to make your protection stronger. However, if you do this, you should closely monitor your posts to make sure legit comments aren’t being blocked out. If they are, you might have to lighten up a bit.

#4: Regularly read your blog comments Be sure to keep an eye on your comments. Even the best software
or setting can’t prevent everything, so you will have to occasionally manually remove comments on your own.

By applying the above principles, you can ensure that your blog is full of only good, quality comments, which will help your credibility tremendously.

Technorati Tags: blogging

How Frequently Should You Post to Your Blog?

Keeping people interested in your blog, whether it is a business or personal blog, is key to attracting a lot of regular visitors. Many blogs have died because people have just lost interest. The main reason for the lack of interest is simply a lack of posts by the blogger. Regular, frequent posting, which will boost your blog’s ranking in search engines, is essential to the survival of any blog.

You might be asking yourself, what is frequent posting? How many blog entries should I make on a given week? How do I make frequent consistently good posts? What are the reasons for me to post frequently? In this newsletter, we will go over all of the above.

What is frequent posting?

Frequent blog posting is posting enough to keep your readers interested. Obviously, people will not want to come back to a blog that hasn’t been updated in months. They want to see consistent posting so that they know coming back to check the blog next week to see if there are more posts won’t be a waste of time.

How many blog entries should I make each week?

This is one of the tougher questions to answer. It really depends on the purpose of your blog. If it’s a personal blog, a weekly or twice weekly update is an excellent idea. A political/sports/music/religion blog should have 3-4 posts per week. Some believe internet business blogs should have at least 2 posts, but preferably 4 each week. I feel the actual number is less important than a consistent regularity of posts.

For most brick and mortar businesses once or twice a week is more than enough. If you are building a web only business, more frequent postings are probably more important.

The thing to remember is that quality counts. Posting frequently just for the sake of posting frequently tends to result in subpar posts which people won’t care about. It is important to find a balance–frequent, quality posts that won’t result in burnout on your part. Why create 4 poor quality posts each week when you could post 2 quality posts per week?

How do I create quality postings on a consistent basis?

It’s all about following a consistent pattern of writing. Maybe you’re not a natural writer and this is difficult. That’s why we’ll give you an outline to help you.

1. Pick a topic that is interesting to you and to your readers. Maybe if your blog is a personal blog, you could write about the latest happenings in Hollywood.

2. Carefully think about what you’ll write about the topic. It makes it easy to make quality blog postings if you know exactly what you’ll write. Plot out everything about the post before even beginning to write it.

3. Before writing your content, pick out some keywords that are relevant to your blog. If you naturally use keywords throughout your post, you will please search engine spiders which will get your blog ranked higher on search engines. Your visitors won’t mind the use of keywords if they are used in a tasteful way.

4. Begin writing your post. Don’t limit yourself to a particular amount of words. Just do what’s natural. And if any blog post is hard for you, just take a timeout and relax. You should be able to finish the post a bit later on, after you’ve had some time to think things through, you should be able to finish the post with
no problems.

I like to write four or five posts at a time, if I can, on a related topic and have the task done for a while. It also has the advantage of allowing a more in depth discussion of a topic.

Why is frequent posting important?

Blogs are meant to be outlets for individuals or businesses. They are used to get an opinion out on something and to engage readers. Readers need to have something that makes them want to keep coming back to a blog. That something is usually quality, frequent posts.

Gaining and maintaining visitors isn’t the only reason to post often in your blog. Catching the eye of a search engine–and achieving a high ranking–is another valid reason for posting frequently. Most likely, each posting in your blog features some keywords or keyword phrases scattered throughout it. Logic says
that the more natural keywords you have on a blog, the better.

Thus, the more posts you make on your blog, the more keywords you have on there. And the more keywords you have, the more likely a search engine bot is to crawl your site. The more your site is crawled by bots, the more likely it is that you will have a high ranking on a search engine.

Technorati Tags: blogging

Blogging with Blogger

Over the past few years, blogs have become incredibly popular.
Just about everyone who uses the internet also has a blog. You

want to get in on the action, but you’re not sure how to get

your own blog.

Luckily for you, sites like have made it easy to

set-up and make posts on a blog. In this newsletter, we will go

over everything from signing up for a blog on to

choosing a template (look) to finally making a first post.

What is
Simply put, is a site that hosts blogs for free.

This makes it even easier for you to have a blog because there

is no need to set up a web site and host the blog yourself. All

you have to do on, once you’ve signed up, is login

to your blog, write a blog post and click submit. It’s that


What will my web address be on
Your web address will be One thing

that people dislike about Blogger and other free blog sites is

that they don’t have as great of a freedom in choosing a name.

You are limited to choosing only what is available. So if you’re

looking for, you probably won’t

be able to find that.

Signing up for a blog on Blogger
The first thing you’ll do is go to Next, you’ll

scroll down the page and click on the button labeled “Create

Your Blog Now”.

You will then be taken to a page where you will enter an email

address(used to log into your blog), a password, and a word

verification. You’ll also have to check “I Accept Terms of

Service”. Click continue.

Next, you will be taken to a page where you will choose the blog

title, blog address, and another word verification(which is done

to prevent auto-signups). When you type in your blog address,

you can click a link that says “check availability”. This will

tell you whether or not the desired name is available. If the

first name you wish to have is not available, keep typing in

different variations of the name until you find one that is


After you have put in all the information, click “Continue”.

Choosing a Template
After you click “Continue”, you’ll be asked to choose a

template. The template can be changed at any time after you

sign-up for the blog, so you don’t have to choose an “official”

template now.

If you scroll down, you’ll see a variety of different templates.

Click on the one that you like best and then click “Continue”.

Your First Blog Post
After you’ve chosen a template, you’ll see that your blog has

been created and that there is a button to “Start Posting”.

Click that button.

You’ll be taken to a page that is similar to the posting page at

a message board. There is a “Title” field, where you can put in

the title of this particular blog posting. Then there is a

bigger field, which is the body of your post. Type all you want

in this “Body” field, as there is no limit.

Note that there are options above the field to bold, italicize,

underline or spell check the text. There is also the option of

changing the size and color of the text, plus the ability to add

bullet points, numbered lists and even pictures. For now, you’ll

just do a simple “Welcome” post.

In the “Title” field, type “Welcome!” In the “Body” field, type

your message. You could start with a simple introduction,

talking about yourself and the purpose of the blog. When you’re

done typing the message, click the “Publish” button. It is worth

noting that you can choose to save the post as a draft, if you

want to go back and later finish the post.

After you’ve clicked “Publish”, you’ll see that your blog has

been published successfully. Click the “View Blog” link to view

the results of your work. You’ll now see your post.

Logging into Blogger after the first post
You’ll go to and click on the “Old Blogger” link at

the top right of the page. Type in the email address and

password that you signed up with.  You’ll be taken to the

“Dashboard” of your blog. If you want to enter a new post on

your blog, click “New Post”. Then follow the instructions

mentioned in the previous section. Or if you want to edit the

template, add/edit elements to your page, you’ll click

“Settings” and then “Template”.

That’s all there is to it. Blogs, whether they are hosted at or another free blog site, are incredibly useful and


To your success,

Earl Netwal

Micro Business Specialist

P.S. Blogger makes setting up and running a blog very easy for

those who have never done it before. Frankly my first blog attempts

were on Blogger. However, I don’t recommend Blogger for those who

are trying to build a business online.

PPS. Blog sites like Active Rain which serves the Real Estate

industry and other industry centered Blog sites are great, easy ways

to begin blogging. They lack the individual control of your own blog,

and don’t build your Google Ranking as well. They can however be

an interesting industry exchange as long as you don’t get carried

away.  You need to focus more on your customers with your own blog.

PPS: A third option is to blog for bucks with a blog dedicated to

promoting products as a separate business activity. Many are making

significant incomes in this regard. One fellow from Singapore has put

together a program thats inexpensive to get started with if that’s

your interest. It’s called Atomic Blogging and you can find it at:

Atomic Blogging

Technorati Tags: Blogger, blogging

Should You Use Blogger of Word Press of their Compatriots?

So you’ve decided to blog, but aren’t sure whether you should host the blog yourself or sign up for a free service like It’s a dilemma that many bloggers face. There are pros and cons to both, which makes the decision difficult for many. Neither is perfect, and neither is for everyone.

Fortunately, you should be able to make the best decision for you if you are armed with adequate knowledge of both. In this newsletter, we’ll go over services like and others, plus software that allows you to host your own blog. We’ll also go over the pros and cons of each. After reading this, you will know which is best for you.

Who offers free blog hosting?

Many sites offer free blog hosting. Among them are Forumer, Blogger, BlogEasy, Aeonity, BlogThing and Blogates. A quick search for “free blog” on Google reveals many possibilities.

What software can I use to host my own blog?

Like free blog hosting, there are many possibilities for software that makes hosting your own blog easy. Most of them are free to use. These include:

WordPress(the most popular software)
Apache Roller

There is also blog software which you can purchase for use on your site. These include:

Community Server
Movable Type
Radio UserLand

One negative about using software and hosting your own blog is that the process can often times be complicated. You have to download the software and install it to your server, which doesn’t always go easily. It’s particularly hard for those who don’t have a lot of experience installing things on servers.

[I had difficulties until I got myself a web host that used C-panel and then learned how to use the C-panel to control my own site. Prior to that I had to pay a guy who would eventually get around to doing things on his time line. Having control is much better and not that hard, once I was properly set up and familiar with how to use the C-panel.]

Why should I remotely host my blog at a place like Blogger?

Places like Blogger allow you to host your blog there. It’s a good option for many people.

The Pros

-It’s easy to set up and maintain a blog. You don’t have to go through the trouble of installing software and configuring it to work on your server. All you have to do is sign up for an account and start posting.

-It’s friendly for beginning bloggers. Sites that host blogs offer good tutorials on how to make your blog postings, so that even someone who is completely new to the concept of blogging can do it easily.

-Most blog hosting sites are completely free to use. There is no need to pay for things like a domain name and hosting.

-Monetizing your blog is easy. Rather than having to manually put HTML/Javascript codes on your blog to manually set up things like AdSense and Pay Per Click advertising, you can select an option on most blog hosting sites that does much of the work for you.

The Cons

-You don’t have as many options to customize your blog. Remotely hosted blogs are admittedly somewhat limited in terms of what you can actually do on them. You have to stick with what is provided to you in terms of look and features.

-The URL you get is always You don’t get to have a custom domain name like This can possibly hurt traffic to your blog.

-Blogs hosted on free blog sites don’t look as professional as self hosted blogs.

Why should I self-host my blog?

The Pros

-You have more options and more flexibility. You are able to tweak the blog to your liking.

-Your URL is your address for your blog. Rather than having go to where your blog is hosted to read it, they can read it right from your site.

-The ability to make your blog look professional. Blogs that are hosted on sites of their own tend to look a lot better than those hosted on free sites.

-More space for your blog. Free blog sites usually place a restriction on how much space you have for things like photos and music. By hosting your own blog, you are able to use as much space as you need.

The Cons

-There are sometimes problems with setting up blog software to run on your site and server. If you aren’t experienced when it comes to working with mySQL, the process will be hard. [easier with C-Panel]

-Updates aren’t as easy to post.

-You have to manually set up programs to monetize your blog. However, if you are good with HTML/Javascript, this shouldn’t be
too hard.

-You have to pay for your own hosting and domain

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both. Which should you choose? Well, it depends on who you are and what you intend to use your blog for. If you intend to use it for business, then a self-hosted blog is the best idea. If it’s a personal blog, then a free hosted blog will probably be fine for you.

To your success,

Earl Netwal
Micro Business Specialist

P.S. Closely examine all of the pros and cons mentioned above. That way, you’ll be able to make the best decision for you! Keep in mind that there are ebooks and video programs available to help you quickly master the technical skills required.

P.P.S. Do you Have C-panel? If so, I recommend a course by Bob the Teacher which helped me learn how to use it quickly and painlessly. This basic information is essential to your internet independence and ultimately your success.

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