Monday, March 30, 2009

Want Free Search Engine Traffic? Choose the Correct Keywords!

Just so you know, I used the information below to change/add to my Keywords and Meta Tag list! I used the Wordtracker and KeywordDiscovery...both worked great and best of all it's FREE! Because we have been on the topic of marketing your website, we also need to address how to get that Search Engine Traffic! So I hope this helps you as much as it helps us at!


Want Free Search Engine Traffic? Choose the Correct Keywords!

If content is king, make your keywords your servants! It's pretty simple; good keywords bring lots of traffic, bad ones don't. If you want that free search engine traffic, the first thing you need to do is to find out what exactly it is that people are searching for in the area that you are interested in. Then you pick key words that relate to your topic of interest, and that people are really searching for. You can have the best content in the world, but if you optimize for the wrong keywords you still won't get that sought after traffic.

For example, let's assume I am going to build a site about water heaters, and I want people to come to my site. I need to find out what kind of information about water heaters that people are looking for so I can build pages optimized for the keywords that people are really using.

The first thing I do is go to a keyword tool to do my keyword research. There are a number of keyword tools online, my favorite is Wordtracker. Others include KeywordDiscovery, and the Google AdWords suggestion tool There is simply no substitute for doing your keyword research. With these tools you can put in a seed word or phrase, and the tools will provide you with lists of related keywords and keyword phrases that are searched for, and how many times per month they are searched for. Using these tools there are ways to estimate the size of the market for products and services, ways to optimize you web pages, find new niche markets, and much more.

With Wordtracker I find quickly that many more people search for "tankless water heater" than search for water heater...which surprises me. Nearly as many people search for "hot water heater" as search for "water heater". Wordtracker also informs me that there are far fewer websites trying to be ranked high for "hot water heater" than for "water heater". Ah-Ha! I'll be sure to optimize a few pages for "hot water heater". In fact, I find that the terms "tankless water heater", "tankless hot water heater", "tankless water heaters", "electric tankless water heaters", and "tankless heaters" all have more people searching for them than "water heater".

Single word keywords are very difficult to get high rankings for, so it's wise to shoot for longer keyword phrases. Three and four word phrases are what I use most often.

After finding out what information people are looking for, and what keywords they are using to find that information, you can build the appropriate pages and optimize them for those keywords that have significant traffic searching for them.

Now that we have our keyword list and we are ready to build our pages, where do we put the keywords?

The first and probably one of the most important places to have your keywords are in the title tag. This is one of the tags in the head section of the html code of your web page and lists the title that is displayed in the web browser. Internet Explorer displays this tag in the top bar of the browser window. It's very important that you always write for humans. The search engines are getting smarter and smarter, and they are looking for sites optimized for humans, not search engines.

Get some of your keywords into the keyword meta tag, not crucial but it won't hurt.

Make sure you have some keywords in your Alt tags for your images...don't overdo it though. Write it for humans, but try to work a few keywords in if you can. Alt tags are displayed as a popup when you pass your mouse over an image.

The Description Meta Tag is still a valuable place to use your keywords. Many search engines will look at the description Meta tag for keywords to compare against your body copy. Yahoo uses your description tag as the description of your site in their listings. Consider the description tag just like it is named, a concise description of your site. Keep under 50 words.

Your body copy is obviously a very important place for placement of your keywords. Remember, write for humans. If your keywords don't appear in your body copy, you won't place high in the search engine results for those keywords. Work your keyword into the text appropriately. Select one or two keywords and make the page specifically about those keywords.

Use your keywords appropriately for humans on your site where you can. This will increase your search engine effectiveness.


About the Author: William Lund has been a webmaster since 1998. His website provides free information about website design, development, promotion, and monetization. For more about keywords and other website topics visit: Lund One Web Marketing and More. Mr. Lund Also has a blog: Pondering Everything

Saturday, March 21, 2009

14 Reasons You Need a Logo and Marketing Materials

Here you go....the LOGO...and I want to say that I really like reasons 10-13 and number 6 is good too...well they are ALL worth reading and thinking about as you start on your marketing strategy!


14 Reasons You Need a Logo and Marketing Materials

Experts urge small business owners to "brand" their businesses with a logo and a set of consistent marketing materials. However, they rarely explain the reasons behind this advice. Below are some of some of the benefits of a professionally designed logo and identity system:

1 To look "bigger" and "established." Home-printed business cards or cards printed with Microsoft clipart scream "small-time vendor" to your potential clients — and that is how they will want to compensate you.

2 To increase your chance of earning venture capital or of selling a business. If you present a well-rounded business package that includes marketing materials and graphics, your business will look more complete.

3 To attract more clients. Some clients look for a well-defined company, and "look and feel" may be one of their criteria for making a purchasing decision.

4 To brand yourself. If you are a consultant, you need a logo in order to build an image and a brand that is greater than your individual identity. Be sure to avoid the Top 10 Branding Mistakes.

5 To convey that you are reputable. A logo and professionally-printed materials show that you are committed to both your business and to your clients.

6 To give clients a sense of stability. You may not have been in business "since 1908," but if you have invested in your identity, you are more likely to remain firm and relevant in the eyes of your customers. It goes a long way toward building that all-important "trust."

7 To be more memorable. Forty percent of people better remember what they see than what they hear or read. So to have graphics associated with your business, and to keep those graphics consistent, makes you more likely to be at the forefront of potential clients' minds when they need your goods or services.

8 To explain your company name. If your company name contains a little-known word or an acronym, the logo can give visual clues to its meaning.

9 To endear your company name to your clients. A difficult-to-pronounce or hard-to-remember company name makes it challenging for clients to hire you. When potential clients need your services, they may not recall a tricky name. But if you reinforce the name with interesting, compelling graphics, they are more likely to remember you, pick up the phone, and hire you.

10 To explain an unusual line of business. If your business is nontraditional or in a hard-to-explain industry, a logo can help to clarify exactly what it is that you do.

11 To differentiate you from your competition. A well-designed logo can have many subtle meanings and can begin to tell the story of how you do business, including the special practices that make you stand apart from the competition.

12 To stand out in your field. A well-designed logo and an identity system can put you far above the competition, especially when paired with a strong marketing program.

13 To comply with expectations. In some industries, a logo is just expected. In the creative services industry especially, having a logo is an industry standard.

14 To show your commitment. Do it for the sense of personal pride that it will add to your practice.

These benefits will boost your business and your confidence, so consider developing a logo and identity as soon as possible.


Erin Ferree is a logo, print, and Web designer who has been making it easy for small businesses to stand out and to be visible, credible, and memorable for the past nine years.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Target Your Market!

You know, when I started this blog I thought it would be pretty easy to "go in order". First you should do this and next that. Well, there are so many things that need to be done almost at once. Design for example. The Design of your website, your business cards, your banner, your brochures and your logo. Now I am not saying that you need all of these to start on day 1 but you do need a combination depending on your market strategy.

You have the name. You have decided to go at this alone or with a partner. You have an LLC, Tax ID, DBA...whatever....and now you really have to think about marketing materials. (which is that list above) So now think about your "target market", who you want to attract to your business. Intended Parents: yes, Potential Surrogates: yes, Professionals (RE, Attorney's, Clinic staff etc.) in the ART field: yes, (If I have to explain what ART means then you need to go and do your homework before you even think about opening THIS kind of business!) Other Agency's: yes (YES! If you are only doing surrogacy then it would be great to attract the attention of egg donor agency's that have IP's that need someone to carry those eggs or other agency's that you can network with) So it looks like you have a large market to target even if you are only going to market the state you are currently in. (I hope that state is surrogacy friendly!)

Now start thinking about your marketing materials. They should all have something in perhaps? Color? Logo? Font? I will give you my 2 cents next time!

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What is a Tax ID and How to get one

I just love the Internet! Robert Longley has already done the hard part and wrote out all the information needed regarding Federal Tax ID numbers and all I did was cut and paste them here! Thank you Robert!

LaMothe Services, LLC

At some point your business will need one of these
The government form you're feverishly filling out has a blank demanding your business's "Federal Tax ID Number" or "Employer Identification Number (EIN)." Unfortunately, you don't have one. What is a federal tax ID number, does your business even need one, and how do you get it?
Q. What is a federal tax ID number?

A. A federal tax identification number (also know as an employer identification number or EIN), is a number assigned solely to your business by the IRS. Your tax ID number is used to identify your business to several federal agencies responsible for the regulation of business.

Q. Does my business need a federal tax ID number?

A. Any business offering products or services that are taxed in any way must get a federal tax ID number.

If your state taxes personal services, or if you are required to collect sales taxes on your sales, you need a federal tax ID number. All the government forms you will be required to file for your business will require either a Social Security number or a tax ID number.
It's safe to say that any business that has employees and/or pays any kind of taxes will need a federal tax ID.

To set up a federal tax ID number (also called an Employer Identification Number, or EIN), contact your nearest Local IRS Field Office, or call the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Hotline at 800-829-4933.

The form you'll need to fill out is IRS From SS-4 and you can download it directly from the SBA Web site.

If your business does not have employees, the IRS recommends you label the top of the form SS-4 "For Identification Purposes Only."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Choosing a Structure for Your Business~More Options

I thought it would be a good idea here to tell you about corporations. Here you can see the pros and the cons. Feel free to investigate on your own using the Internet! There is so much information and you can make an inform choice!

Choosing a Structure for Your Business
Small business owners should consider the advantages of both a corporation and a Limited Liability Company (LLC) when forming a new company. Selecting the right structure can help you maximize your chances for success. Though corporations and LLCs can both help protect personal assets from business debts, they differ in the following respects:

Advantages of a Corporation

May issue shares of stock to attract investors
Corporate income splitting may help lower overall tax liability

Advantages of an LLC

Has no limit to the number of owners
Owners can report profit and loss on their individual tax returns
Not required to hold annual meetings or record minutes

Disadvantages of a Corporation

Double taxation of corporate profits and shareholder dividends
Must hold annual meetings and record minutes
S Corporations have restrictions on number of owners

Disadvantages of an LLC

Cannot engage in corporate income splitting to lower tax liability
Cannot issue stock

Note: LLC owners can elect for the IRS to tax the LLC as a sole proprietorship, partnership, C Corporation, or S Corporation. Owners make this election through the IRS after the company forms with the state.

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More about the LLC

How You Can Benefit from a Corporation or LLC
Regardless of their size, all businesses can benefit from incorporating. Typically, the reason most people form a legal business structure is to safeguard their personal assets. Incorporating or forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) helps you conduct your business free from worry that you might lose personal savings or possessions because of a business liability.

Advantages of Forming a Corporation or LLC
Personal asset protection. Both corporations and LLCs allow owners to protect their personal assets. In a properly structured and managed company, owners should have limited liability for business debts and obligations.

Improved credibility. Adding "Inc." or "LLC" after your business name can add instant authority. Consumers, vendors, and partners may prefer to do business with an incorporated company.

Nationwide availability. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now recognize both corporations and LLCs.

Name protection. In most states, other businesses may not file your exact corporate or LLC name in the same state.

Ensured continuity. Corporations and LLCs exist perpetually, even if ownership or management changes. Sole proprietorships and partnerships end if an owner dies or leaves the business.

Tax flexibility and savings. Corporations are taxed at a lower rate than individuals. Though profit and loss typically pass through an LLC and get reported on the personal income tax returns of owners, an LLC can also elect to be taxed as a corporation. Likewise, a corporation can avoid double taxation of corporate profits and dividends by electing Subchapter S tax status.

Deductible expenses. Both corporations and LLCs may deduct normal business expenses, like salaries, before they allocate income to owners.

Not Ready to Incorporate Yet?
Try our Business Startup Wizard to learn what others in your state and industry have done.

Download our Free 10-Step Business Formation Guide.

Get more details about forming a corporation or LLC in our Small Business Resources, or check out another service.

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC

Monday, March 2, 2009

What's In A Name?

Here is an easy subject to think about when you are considering opening your own Agency, The Name. It's almost like naming your baby, your first born even. Surrogacy Consultants of Florida seemed to just fit and at the time we, my business partner and I, didn't think that we would want to expand beyond Florida. That, my friends, is called Short Sighted. Moving on, we also had to see what the name would 'look like' shortened. Surrogacy Consultants. SCF. Rolls off the tongue and easy to remember and easy to type. All things to consider when you are picking the name of YOUR business. When I was picking the name of my first born someone told me to stand at the end of our driveway and yell the name 10 times and see if I still liked it...Tony, TOOOOOOONNNNNNNYYYYYY, TONY!!! It's almost the same with your business are going to be saying it and seeing it A LOT! Answering the phone, on your web site, your letter head, in your banner, your advertising, the phone book, search engines and other web sites and your business get the picture.

Here is a suggestion...go to the eDirecthost website and click on Domain Names and then click Register A New Domain Name and put the name you are linking about in the box and see what comes up...the site, for FREE, even offers suggestions. Remember, the name needs to say a lot about you and what you are offering. It's your first marketing tool and what you will be remembered by...who was that person we talked with from SCF? ABC? LMNOP?

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC