Browsing articles from "November, 2011"

11 Ways to Get Results on 11-11-11

Nov 11, 2011   //   by Kristi Hines   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  21 Comments

Are you ready to start making your own luck 11-11-11 ? Then take action with these tips on productivity, blogging, digital marketing, organization, social media, and more.

11-11-11
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1. Give people options to subscribe to you.

If you have a blog or website, you probably want people to subscribe in a specific way. Maybe you are trying to build your mailing list or your RSS feed subscriber numbers. But if you want everyone to follow, then you need to give everyone options they will like.

One thing I have noticed is that certain people follow me in only one place. There are some people who will not interact with my posts (or possibly even read it) if I don’t share them on Facebook. There are other people who will not interact with my posts if I don’t share them on Google+.

There are people I know will only see my content if I share it on a particular network which means they are not following me closely elsewhere.

Hence, there are people you will lose out on as followers if you don’t give them options to follow you on the networks they prefer. So if you only have one or two subscription options on your website, now is the time to change that. Be sure that you offer RSS (by feed and by email), Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and a mailing list. Then you will have at least one option that everyone will want to use to keep up with you!

2. Start a mailing list.

If you saw mailing list above and thought “I don’t need a mailing list,” then you need to re-evaluate that thought. Some people might be so overwhelmed by their social networks and their RSS reader that they will miss your updates. Others might want more than what you share with the public.

This is where you mailing list comes into play. It will give you the chance to get right your subscriber’s inbox with your message. Mailing lists are not just for businesses, Internet marketers, or affiliate marketers. They are for everyone. You can recap your latest posts on your site, share your work on other sites, get visitor feedback, give special subscriber-only tips, and much more with your mailing list.

What’s most important is making that connection with your readers and visitors. Get them to take the next step in connecting with you, and then take the initiative to remind them about your personal or professional brand often using that connection.

You don’t even need a freebie to entice people to opt-in. Just put the form on your site and let the opt-ins casually roll in. You’ll be glad a year from now when you have new online goals and a built-in list of people to share them with.

3. Stop obsessing about stats.

If you check your stats multiple times a day, I want you to time yourself. How long does it take to check your analytics, Twitter followers, RSS subscribers, AdSense earnings, or whatever other things you are looking at over and over again?

Now take that same amount of time every day and do something that will actually help those numbers increase like engaging with your followers or creating new content for your website. Then check those numbers every week instead of every day. You’ll then start seeing real results.

4. Quit using the swipe files.

If you are an affiliate marketer and wonder why you aren’t making any money with your affiliate products, ask yourself if you are providing valuable information about a product or if you are just using the standard template that the product owner sends you. The issue with swipe files is that you are not the only person who has them.

If I’m subscribed to three people promoting a product and two of them have the same copy in their email, but the third person has something unique about their experience with the product, then guess who I’m more likely to buy from? I don’t want to read a sales pitch – I want to read real, hands-on experience and the benefits gained from the product. Give your audience that, and you will make a sale!

5. Add share buttons to your content.

Go look at a page on your website or blog that you wish everyone would tweet about. Do you have a Twitter button on it? If not, then that is the reason you’re not getting tweets.

People like for things to be easy. They don’t to Bit.ly your link, search for your Twitter handle, then tweet your page. They want to click on a button that has all of that information in it and then click send. They don’t want to copy & paste your link into Facebook and then edit the information. They want to click “Like.”

You can start by installing the official Twitter, Facebook, Google +1, and LinkedIn buttons manually, or use plugins such as ShareThis or Digg Digg which will implement them into your site.

6. Get to inbox zero.

Do you have a hard time replying to emails? Do you miss important ones and end up smacking yourself in the head later for missing them? Chances are, you just have a little too much clutter. I find that when my inbox is under twenty emails, I’m more likely to reply to them all compared to when there are hundreds.

So how is it done? Depending on how much email you have collected, you might have to spend several hours at the initial cleanup. The goals are to:

  • Answer anything you have been stalling on answering. You can either do it, like it, help with it, or turn it down. Whatever you decide, it will make things better to at least decide, respond, and archive.
  • Unsubscribe from anything you don’t read. Don’t feel guilty just because it is someone you know – think of it as doing them a favor because now they won’t have to pay for you as a subscriber (if they use Aweber or similar services) when you’re not reading their info anyway.
  • Filter emails that you read but do not require a response. Create folders for specific people, newsletters, brands, social notifications, comment notifications, and so forth. Then create filters to sort incoming emails into those specific folders. Gmail is really good about this because you can even filter incoming emails to appear in your inbox but already be labeled to go into another folder once it has been read which makes organization that much simpler.

Once you get down to inbox zero, then you will start feeling good about answering each email that comes in and only seeing the few things that you need to take action on.

7. Check your Twitter direct messages.

I know, I know – you probably think they are only full of spam. But you might be surprised if you just monitor them daily how you will find more than just spam.

I still kick myself when I remember missing out on the opportunity to chat with someone I’d been dying to talk to in the industry simply because he sent me a direct message and I didn’t find it until a few months later. By that point, he didn’t remember what he wanted to talk to me about.

Since then, I’ve had inquires about my eBook, my services, and general questions. I’ve probably earned a good bit of income simply by monitoring and answering direct messages.

8. Optimize your social profiles for search.

If you missed my wildly popular entry to the Bad Ass SEO Contest, how to optimize 7 popular social media profiles for search, or you didn’t take action on those tips when you read them, I suggest you revisit the post and implement the advice. You’ll be glad you did!

Having the right information in your profiles will lead to better positioning in search, whether it is just for your name, on Google, or just within the social network itself. Then you’ll start getting the kinds of followers interested in your content and you will be on your way to accomplishing your online goals.

9. Help someone out.

Sometimes answering a simple question with a detailed, informative response goes a long way. This could be in your email, your Twitter direct messages (see #7 again), your comments, or anywhere else that people can connect with you online. A few of my freelance writing gigs have been the result of answering questions about how blogs find writers.

10. Organize your thoughts.

I used to have issues with writer’s block, and I never understood why because I felt like I was always coming up with great ideas. Then I realized that those great ideas were on post-its, in emails, in notebooks, on random receipts, and everywhere else.

I compiled them into one spreadsheet, organized them by topic, and boom – I now have almost 100 topic ideas in a variety of categories to write about. So now, on a rainy day when I have writer’s block, I can refer to one source for great ideas.

11. …

This one I decided to leave up to you the reader. What is one additional tip you can think of that will help you change your online marketing luck for the better on 11-11-11?

Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Don't miss her Web Domination Review on Kikolani. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

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Easy Ways to Beef Up Your Content

Nov 10, 2011   //   by Ty Banfield   //   SEO Blog  //  25 Comments

2011 has been a challenging year for many website owners. As Panda has continued to make clear, Google is serious about delivering quality content to its searchers. While it’s easy to spend a lot of time debating what is and isn’t quality content, there are some clear indications of what Google generally prefers.

Length is one factor that seems to be quite significant. In August, serpIQ ran an analysis of their database of 20,000+ keywords and front page results. As you can see from the screenshot below, the average content length for a Top 10 result is at least 2,000 words.

Average Content Length

Although this is obviously a cause of correlation and not causation, it does bring up an interesting question:

Why would Google favor longer content?

In general, longer content is going to be more comprehensive. If one website has 1,000 words about a topic and another website has 2,000 words about the topic, the latter is going to be able to cover more information than the former.

So, if your homepage is short on content, does this mean you just need to start writing whatever comes to your mind? Of course not! There’s a big difference between beefing up your content and filling it with fluff. Adding a bunch of nonsense to take up space isn’t going to help any visitors who are actually reading it.

While beefing up your content may seem like a really difficult task, there’s another reason you should be motivated to do it. Most conversion tests show that long copy converts better than short copy. This has been true since the glory days of direct mail, and it continues to be the case.

Since beefing up your content can help your rankings and your conversions, here are some tips for doing it the right way:

Start Answering Questions
: Open a blank document and start typing out all the questions a visitor might have when they come to a specific page of your website. Although it may take a bit to get warmed up, once you get rolling, you’ll find that you can generate a lot of good questions.

Once you have your list of questions, answer them. You can then add this useful information to the page you’re expanding.

Display New Posts: Just because your homepage is a landing page doesn’t mean you can’t showcase your latest posts. If you look at Copyblogger, you’ll see that the top of their site is devoted to their products. Then when you scroll down the page, they have a section for their posts.

If you’re using WordPress, this is very easy to do by creating a Sticky Post on your main page.

Address Multiple Point of Views: If you’re expanding an informational page, consider getting opinions and insights from multiple experts instead of just one.

If you’re working on a product page, talk about your competitors. Although some companies are afraid to even mention their competitors, if you can show visitors why you’re better than your competitors, you will be able to convert more of them into your customers.

Has the impact of Panda changed your content strategy?

Ty Banfield

Ty Banfield is a freelance writer. Over the past five years, he's written on almost every topic under the sun. While variety is the spice of writing life, marketing and fitness are the two topics he never grows tired of exploring. He also provides business website development, marketing and conversion consulting that helps businesses attract more customers.

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Ramping Up During the Holidays – Marketing on Foursquare

Nov 9, 2011   //   by Kaila Strong   //   internet marketing, Social Media  //  No Comments

There are so many marketing options available for brands that it’s especially hard during the holidays to decide where your efforts should go. After reading a blog post on B2B marketing on Foursquare I thought about options for any brands that might be looking to use Foursquare this holiday season. With a bit of creativity there are many things you try out this holiday season.

Offer a Special
Increased foot traffic in malls or shopping plazas can mean more people near your business. By offering a special on Foursquare you stand a chance of having someone within range of your business visit your location, check in, share their location with friends, and of course possibly purchasing something to get the discount.

It’s surprising to see that so many businesses offer specials to their customers through varies medias but don’t put that same exact special on Foursquare. During this time of year especially, specials and discounts can get more traffic into your doors. It doesn’t take much to set up on Foursquare and to let your staff know about the special.

Make One-On-One Connections
If someone is checking into your business shouldn’t you say thank you? Having someone on staff monitor check-ins at your location during the holidays can help give an added personal feel to the experience at your business for a customer. Try welcoming them while at the store, offering assistance, or asking how their experience was.

Don’t Forget the Mayor
Have a few regular customers battling it out to become mayor of your establishment? Continue the battle across multiple platforms and create a contest over the holidays on Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook. This can help spark others to get in on the game, coming back to your establishment often. Have a leader board posted at your location and keep tally. Aren’t in the mood for a game? Simply offer a discount to the mayor and thank them for their patronage – few businesses do it.

Holiday Markets
Craft and art fairs, bizarres, and holiday markets are all great places to sell your wares during the holidays. Monitoring the users who check into the event and directing them to your booth is easy to do through the use of Foursquare and other social media platforms. But why stop there? Try connecting with people before they go to the event by setting up a search on Twitter, or connecting with them afterwards too. Use this opportunity to help build your client base to take you through the new year.

Offer After-Holiday Discounts
By setting up a Twitter search of all the mentions of your brand name or store on Twitter, you can be notified when someone checks into your store or mentions your brand (even if they aren’t using Foursquare). Not only should you thank them for checking in but offer them a discount code (via DM) for the next time they stop in. You have the possibility of turning that one time sale or one time visit into more. Don’t forget – it’s not just about Black Friday deals. Customers are likely to appreciate a non-black Friday deal too, so get them to come back into your store after the holiday rush.

B2B
Discussed in the post I mentioned previously, B2B marketing can be done using Foursquare quite easily. Most of the suggestions offered will require businesses to allow their employees to use social media. Limiting employee social media usage is a trend that has been decreasing over recent years. A recent “Robert Half Technology” study shows social media permitted in the workplace for business purposes becoming more common. If you happen to be in a B2B market and allow your employees to use social media try out this suggestion to use Foursquare to market your brand.

Events - Foursquare can help you promote holiday and company events, and pre-buzz through other social channels can help as well. Igniting conversation about your brands activities, involvement in the community, or camaraderie  can sometimes boost sales. If you are hosting a holiday party set up an event and have your staff tweet, Facebook, and check-in on Foursquare. Encourage them to take pictures too.

These are just a few of the ways you can use Foursquare this holiday season. Have more to add? Feel free – in the comments below!

*Update*

Andy at SmartBlogs.com wrote a great post about how to use Foursquare for word-of-mouth campaigns. Check it out! 

Kaila Strong

Kaila Strong is an avid tweeter (@cliquekaila), and marketer in the Phoenix area.

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Google Fresh: How Will It Affect Your Site?

Nov 8, 2011   //   by Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe   //   Google, SEO Blog  //  14 Comments

google fresh updateWhen Google comes up with a new algorithm change, all the webmasters hold their breath trying to figure out if this is the one that would send their site into the neverland of the search engine rankings.

I bet it wasn’t any different with the last week’s update that focused on pushing the freshest results to the top of the search engine pages.

Google tried to make us feel warm and fuzzy, as they announced their new update:

“Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.” Source

Relevant and recent”.

Not sure what happened to the “relevancy” part (after all, relevancy is supposed to be the cornerstone of how Google works), but we all noticed the “recency” factor.

So how would this latest update affect you and your site?

Should you start posting every day now? Are you expected to compete with websites that have full-time writers constantly churning out fresh content?

The answer is a definite NO.

Although this update will affect about 35% of all searches, its scope is quite narrow, in my opinion.

It zooms in on the following information streams:

1. Current events or hot topics:

It only makes sense that when you search for “occupy Wall Street protest”, you expect to find the latest information on the topic immediately.

2. Topics in need of frequent updates:

A good example of this type of information would be products constantly coming up with new models.

If you are on the market for the latest Volvo XC-90, you are not interested in reviews of 2010 models, right?

3. Regularly occurring events:

Conferences, political elections, sports, etc. – all these events fall under “if I am searching for them, I am looking to find the info on the latest one” category.

Google says:

“Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.”

Reactions Around the Web

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz, along with Mike King of @iPullRank, released the following video commenting on the update:

Wistia


Barry Schwartz of SearchEngineLand.com talks about the potential problems this update might create, referring to them as “freshness spam“:

“There are potential downsides. Sometimes you do want to reward fresh content. But what’s fresh? If someone simply makes a small change to a page, does that give it a fresh boost? If someone reposts exactly the same content on a new page a day or two after initially posting it, is that fresh? Is when the page was first found define freshness, or is the first modified date used?

Does this open Google up to an even worse situation than can already happen with Google News now, where publishers file and refile stories in an effort to win the freshness race there, since the latest versions of stories often get top billing.”

Ben Wills of MarketingPilgrim.com doesn’t just talk about it, but offers 7 suggestions to rank higher in Google’s new fresh results:

  1. Cover Your Bases by Getting into Google News
  2. Use Proper Time-stamps in Your Content
  3. Blogging
  4. Add Forums
  5. Add Question and Answers Section
  6. Add Your Own Social Network
  7. Add Your Own Social News section

If you think your site might be affected by Google Fresh changes, I strongly recommend you check out his post. Even if you don’t, still take a look at it: Bill mentions a good number of tools to help you implement his suggestions above.

Marketing Takeaway

Well, that’s it, folks.

As it’s always the case, we’ll talk about Google Fresh for another week or two, then the topic won’t be fresh any longer and we’ll get back to business as usual.

Until then, let’s try to milk the news for all it’s worth; who knows, maybe your site will show up under “Google Fresh” search tomorrow?

Ana | Traffic Generation Cafe

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it? Ana does, and she freely shares her best advice on how to increase web traffic on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

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My Experience Delving into the World of Contracting Out Jobs

Nov 7, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   Copywriting, SEO, SEO Blog  //  8 Comments

A few months back I had what I consider to be a divine revelation. See, leading up to this point, I was slowly realizing that I was reaching the breaking point as far as the workload I could take on. When I first started out in the SEO copywriting business, I only had a few jobs here and there, leaving me begging for more work. Now I had built a loyal (albeit still small compared to others) customer base, work kept coming in without me having to really look for it. My main client had quadrupled my work load.

And suddenly those deadlines were starting to choke me out. Not too unlike one of those way-too-masculine ‘roided up UFC guys putting a triangle choke hold on their weakened opponent.

Anyway, that’s when it hit me. Find more writers.

As the lights from the heavens beamed down and the angelic choir sang, I began imagining the possibilities. What if I could actually work on the projects I enjoyed and pay someone else to write the stuff that was just “paying the bills” so to speak?

Not only would my love for SEO copywriting grow stringer, but I’d be able to take on more work. Instead of having to turn down jobs or tell a client “yeah but I can’t get it to you for X amount of weeks,” I’d now be able to enthusiastically reply, “BRING IT ON!” Not only that, but I could start searching for more work—you know, sending out sales letters and what not.

Sure I’d probably take a hit at the beginning, having to turn over a small yet still hefty portion of my profits to the contractors. But this would be a mere short term set back.

My Experience Getting My Feet Wet with Contracting Out Work

It didn’t take much thought for me to decide to jump in head first. I began by asking all my friends if they knew anyone interested in making a little money writing on the side. This attracted a few prospects. However, I learned pretty quickly that mixing friends and business didn’t work out. Not one of these prospects ended up being reliable.

Then I turned to Craigslist. After all, I’d picked up a few jobs there along the way. Why couldn’t I find some decent writers? However, first I had a big decision to make—how much money would I offer? Well, the plan was to contract out a bit of the recurring SEO article writing I had to do, which meant 500 word articles. At this point, I had no idea what the average article writer charged. I knew what I was making, but obviously I had to pay significantly less if I wanted to turn a profit.

After pondering this for awhile, I decided to run a test. I made a series of “Wanted: SEO article writer” postings, each listed at a different price point. One was a bit more than I wanted to pay, one about what I considered reasonable, and one I totally low-balled.

Here’s what I discovered. At the low-ball price, I got one of two things. Either I got really crappy writing and had to redo the articles myself…or I got a decent writer who was flaky and would always be late with some reason why they couldn’t finish.

At the middle price point I got a mixture of bad writers and pretty good writers. I sorted through it all and ended up sticking with a few.

The high price point was especially interesting. I assumed I would pull in some better-than-usual writers through this posting. However, what I discovered is all the same writers that applied for the middle price contacted me for this job too. Interesting…

So the conclusion? Obviously I chose middle ground payment.

How to outsource or Manage Contractors?

Once I settled on a few writers, I got rolling. I started sending out article jobs left and right. But as you can imagine, I ran into all sorts of unexpected issues. First of all, how was I to keep all the jobs straight? And what about the bookkeeping? Furthermore, how did I decide which jobs to send to whom?

Want the answers? Ahhh…but I can’t unveil them just yet. Yes, I know it’s frustrating, but this is a subject for my next guest post. Until then, let me know your experience with contracting out work!

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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F*$# You! Pay Me – How to Handle Clients who Refuse to Pay

Nov 4, 2011   //   by Gerald Weber   //   SEO Blog  //  15 Comments

If you are an entrepreneur who has been in business for more than a few years, you’ve likely encountered a situation where a client made the payment process painfully slow or didn’t pay at all.

Although this has only happened to me a couple of times during the last six years, a recent experience made it clear that this issue is still a big problem.

Before I give my perspective, I want to share opinions and insights from some of my good friends who are also entrepreneurs. Their specialties range from SEO to web design to copywriting:

If They Want You, They Should Pay Upfront

“I have had various clients throughout my 6-year career but honestly I have never had anyone fail to pay. In the majority of cases, I charge upfront. This way I am 100% secured. Sometimes I do allow paying for the completed order — but only when if I know the client personally, have good recommendations or have worked for them for some time already to build some trust.??It’s not that I am being too cautious. Most clients find me and want me to work for them (not vice versa), so they are glad to pay upfront.??However I can imagine the situation when the client won’t pay (for any reasons). It may depend on the project size but in most cases, I’d let it go, I think. It’s not my style to threaten or beg. I know it may be wrong but that’s how I work!”

-Ann Smarty

from MyBlogGuest (a guest blogging community)

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Get the Details in Writing

  1. “A detailed breakdown of exactly what each party will be contributing to the project?
  2. Deadlines by which things will be completed?
  3. Signatures from both of you with the date??

Also, in the contract make sure to put a clause stating where jurisdiction will fall if the client fails to pay for the completed work. You ideally want the jurisdiction to fall in the city and state where you are personally located, so the client will have to come to you if there is a problem or dispute over money and being paid.”

-Scott Bradley

from Simple Weight Loss

=

You Deserve to Get Paid, So Be Persistent

“1. Have clients make 3 payments (50%, 25%, and the final payment). Getting them to pay more frequently helps you with your cash flow and it helps the client re-commit half way through the project. If they decide not to pay after you have collected 75% of the project it’s much better than not getting paid at all.

2. Bill clients in full if the project is less than a minimum that you set for yourself and your clients. For example if a project is less than $1,000 we like to have the project paid in full if the client agrees to it.

3. If they won’t pay… Be a pest. Call them, email them, show up at their office. Stalk them if you have to… Be annoying until they have to go borrow the money or get a part-time job to pay you… just don’t give up and let them get over on you.

4. Never, never, never, turn over finalized files to a client before they pay you in full.”

-Brian Waraksa

from Raxa Design

=

Avoid Troublesome Clients By Going with Your Gut

“Don’t let yourself be wooed by empty promises and big dollar signs, and always trust your instincts. I once had a client who was routinely very late on making payments, but every time I tried to end our relationship, he promised that it’d never happen again and he’d entice me by offering to pay more for my services. Of course, I had to keep chasing him down for payments every time, and I finally realized that I should have trusted my gut from the beginning and let him go as a client long ago. I would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary stress.”

-Eric Brantner,

Copywriter

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A Smaller Payment is Better than $0

“In my experience, I always try to charge upfront, however that is not always possible, especially with larger organizations that have to submit invoices to an account department. So another option is to get a 1 months deposit upfront, so in case they don’t pay on-time, you can lean on that deposit to cover the internal costs for performing the work.

Another idea, that I am not particularly fond of but know of my companies that do this, is removing all of the on-page optimization that was done on the site. This will get your clients attention and realize that you are serious about timely payments.”

-Mark Thompson

from StayOnSearch

=

=-

Tip from Smashing Magazine

I also think this tip from Smashing Magazine is quite interesting for web designers:

“Another route that some freelance Web developers opt for when they design websites for clients is to install a kind of CSS fail-safe, in order to have leverage if payment disputes come up. CSS Killswitch is a freelance coder’s dream come true. By simply linking to an external CSS style sheet, which can be activated with the simple click of a button, you can black out a website if the client refuses to pay — even if they have changed the password and locked you out of the back end, which is the only circumstance under which this should be done.”

My Thoughts

I protect myself in two ways. First, I normally wait for payment in full before I start any work. Second, because I charge a setup and monthly fee, I’m usually paid a month in advance.

If this type of billing isn’t possible for you, try to get a full or partial payment in advance. Never start any work on a project if all you’re getting is “the check is in the mail” promise!

What to Do When You Don’t Get Your Payment in Full and the Client is Either Late or Refusing to Pay

First, let the client know you aren’t going to just forget about their bill and that you fully intend to collect. They may be avoiding payment as a test to see if they can get away with it. Solving the problem may be as simple as you letting them know you’re not going to forget about their bill.

Unfortunately, it’s not always going to be this easy, so you may have to take a few extra steps. In addition to calls and emails, you can use a service like Fresh Books to send them an invoice by snail mail, email or both. Because receiving an invoice in the mail makes it more tangible, this can be the nudge a client needs to make their payment.

Get a Contract in Writing

No matter what, the most important thing you can do is to have a signed contract in place. There may be times when you feel comfortable with someone and think, “Oh, I know Joe and he’s a reliable guy.” Unfortunately, this thought isn’t going to help you when Joe keeps “forgetting” about paying you. If a job is for more money than you are willing to not collect on, you need a written contract.

If you have your agreement in writing, you can always take legal or collection action against the client if it’s enough money to warrant the time and hassle. If the amount is less than $5000, it only costs around $50 to file a small claims lawsuit Hopefully, after the client sees you are not simply going to forget about their bill, they will do the right thing and pay up.

And now in the spirit of this post, a short clip from the classic movie Goodfellas…

Note:This video is NSFW and contains four letters words.

Have you ever had a client not pay on time or completely refuse to pay? How did you handle the situation? Let us know in the comments!

Gerald Weber

I founded Search Engine Marketing Group in December 2005. More recently I co-founded viralcontentbuzz.com. which is the free platform that helps bloggers generate REAL "social buzz" on their best content. Feel free to follow me on Google+

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Announcing the 2nd Annual Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest Winners

Nov 3, 2011   //   by Gerald Weber   //   blogging, Contests, SEO Blog  //  21 Comments

Wow! I have to say that this year’s Bad Ass SEO Guest Blogging Contest REALLY lived up to its name. Not only was the sponsorship level greater this year (a whopping $2700 in cash), but the talent level took a big leap forward as well. I am honored to have so much talent on my blog!

Now, without further ado, the moment you have all been waiting for. The winners are:

1st Place – $1000 + a Lifetime Premium Membership to MyBlogGuest.com:

How to Optimize 7 Popular Social Media Profiles for SEO by Kristi Hines

2nd Place – $500 + 1 Year Membership to The SEO Training Dojo:

Come on People, Your Attitude to Guest Blogging Is Killing Me! by James Cave

3rd Place – $350 + Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise License:

But I Don’t Have Enough Klout: How To Be Good At Social Media By Not Being A Jerk by Colette Bennett

4th Place – $250 + 3 Month Subscription to SEMRush.com:

Have You Claimed Your Local Business Listing on These 21 Sites? by Kaila Strong

5th Place – $225:

Using JavaScript to Hide Content: Advanced White Hat SEO? by Darren Slatten

6th Place – $125:

The Seven Secret Steps to Irresistible Blog Posts by Andrew Nattan

7th Place – $100:

Panda, Panda, Panda by Amanda King $100

8th Place – $75

Secret 4 Step Affiliate System by Ben Jackson

9th Place – $75

Social Media Suffocation: Why I’ve Had Enough Of Networking Online by Lewis Austin

Now for a brief explanation of how we can up with our winners:

We had 4 independent judges who scored each post on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the worst and 10 being the best). The judging factors included style, creativity and usefulness. We then averaged the scores from all 4 judges. You can click here to see the Excel spreadsheet with the scoring.

This year, Kristi absolutely dominated the top spot! Not only was her guest post published on Sphinn and mentioned in SEOMoz’s newsletter, but it has received:

20,892 Views
1000 Facebook Likes
1498 Tweets
224 Google Pluses
Over 200 Comments

Places 2 and 3 were also clear winners. However, places 4 through 8 all tied with each other. As a result, we had to use social engagement factors to determine those winners.

The way our social engagement scoring works is 1 point for each tweet, +1, Facebook Like, Stumble or comment. Also, we looked at social engagement on blokube and blogengage. Additionally, we didn’t count meaningless or ambiguous comments like “Great post thanks.” By calculating these totals, we were able to determine who won spots 4 through 8.

Everyone who won, please email me your Paypal email at gweber at sem-group dot net so I can hook you up with your cashola and non-cash prizes!

Once again, I want to thank all the sponsors, contestants and judges who donated their time. Without all of your help, this contest wouldn’t be possible. You all rock!

We’ll see you all next year when the donkey starts misbehaving again!

Gerald Weber

I founded Search Engine Marketing Group in December 2005. More recently I co-founded viralcontentbuzz.com. which is the free platform that helps bloggers generate REAL "social buzz" on their best content. Feel free to follow me on Google+

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Why you shouldn’t Give Up on Google Plus Yet

Nov 2, 2011   //   by Oliver Spencer   //   SEO Blog, Social Media  //  14 Comments

In just shy of a month, Google Plus had created a community 25 Million strong. In all of the hysteria of selective invites and profile creation, Google had created one of the fastest growing website in the illustrious albeit short history of the internet.  There were those who saw the meteoric rise as a sign that the writing was on the wall for Facebook and its flimsy definition of privacy.

However, that hasn’t exactly been the reality. The reason for the initial buzz falling flat should be all too familiar to Google. Last time, however, they were the beneficiary of the phenomenon. The easy recent comparison would be Microsoft launching Bing with ad budget in the millions. Google was able to stand pat and watch the well-funded upstart try to chip away at the empire that it had amassed. Not that the reminder is needed but Google remains king of the search.

With all that being said, there is great functionality to Google Plus, features that have yet to be widely discovered by the general public and could give Plus staying power.

  • Focused Sharing: Plus allows the sharing of content to select circles, you could say social media via scalpel. You can share works articles with your colleagues or post your weekend plans with friends, you have the tools to choose the intimacy of your networking. This comes in handy when you don’t want coworkers or parents to see your updates. Intimacy is vital to Plus and could very well be the differentiator between Facebook and Plus in the long run.
  • Authentic Social Experience: Facebook has become a true place of business, with pages and likes becoming a focus of most modern marketing strategies. If businesses begin to lessen the social experience, there is a chance that more and more users could seek out a new network the way that they left MySpace en masse.
  • Google Integration: One advantage that Google has over Facebook is that there are numerous reasons that the internet population is already using some Google functionality.  Gmail, for example, has built a base over the course of seven years. Switching between Gmail, Google Docs and Google searches will create a more seamless internet experience.

If Plus can foster the feeling of genuine connection that is being seemingly drained from Facebook, it stands a great chance of rivaling the current king of social networking and not becoming victim to the crash after a sugar rush.

Oliver Spencer

Oliver Spencer works at The Department of Marketing a Raleigh Web Design and Internet Marketing company

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Google Plus. Yawn.

Nov 1, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   Google, SEO Blog, Social Media  //  14 Comments

Caution: The opinions in the following blog post represent my own as a guest blogger—not necessarily Search Engine Marketing Group’s or Gerald Weber’s. Just sayin’…

Okay, I’ve got to get something off my chest here. It’s been building and building and if I don’t scream it from the mountain tops, my chest is going to explode. So here it is. Are you ready.

GO TO HELL, GOOGLE PLUS!

Wow. There. I said it. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Who cares. Big deal, so you hate it. You’re a Facebook groupie. Or a Twitter Tweeter. Or whatever. Big deal, join the club.”

Ah, but see, it’s different for me. Why? Because I’m busy trying to pull my foot out of my mouth. Not sure what I’m talking about? Checkout this post I made on my blog a few months back, in which I said that Google Plus was basically going to murder Facebook.

Yeah. Whoops.

Here’s the deal. I wanted Google Plus to be our savior. You know, the one to topple the world system (i.e. Facebook) and bring revolution to the social media world. I prayed that it was true. I hoped with everything within me. In fact, I wanted it to be the case so badly that I wrote a post daring people to argue otherwise with me.

But here I am, a few months later, barely even blinking when I see my Google Plus notifications box pop up. Why? Here’s what I’ve narrowed it down to:

  • My friends aren’t into it. Well, a couple of them maybe. But most of the updates I’m reading are from people I barely know. And quite frankly, I could care less what most of them have to say.
  • People keep adding me and I have no clue who they are. Not sure what the deal is, but I sear the last million people to put me in their circles—I don’t know them. No clue at all. And let’s face it, I don’t really feel like getting to know them.
  • I’m in too deep with the other social networks. My worst fear. I’m too tied into Facebook and Twitter to quit. I’m an addict. Sad, yet so true.

Now, am I saying Google Plus won’t beat them out in the end? Not necessarily. When you compare Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus you can definitely put together a solid argument in Google Pluses favor. But as for now, as for me…sorry Google Plus. I just don’t have the time or the patience.

Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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