How is your online reputation?

Try to Google the name of your company today. Do you see reviews from third party review sites like Yelp, Insider pages, City Search, or Kudo’s? See anything you don’t like? With potential customers researching products and services, bad reviews or complaints that turn up in a search can mean lost business.


Search Engines rank 3rd party reviews highly because it carries more weight than what you may put on your own website. Once a negative review is posted on a public review site, it can be very hard to remove. To add insult to injury, your negative review may duplicated in other review sites resulting in one negative review showing up many positions on the first page of search engine results.


Some review sites let you claim your business and respond back to the negative review, others don’t. Responding to a negative review can also have a negative effect if it is not correctly. Another problem is most review sites only post a user name like “Soccerdad” without providing you with contact information so it is almost impossible to contact the person that gave you the negative review to correct the problem.


There are Reputation Management Companies sprouting up all over the place geared towards combating your negative reviews,  you can spend thousands of dollars with out no guarantee of success.


What does CNS suggest?


CNS has been providing Web Design and Search Engine Optimization for nearly four years. We understand the frustrations of managing negative reviews. We suggest starting a positive review campaign that can be pushed through your emails, newsletters, website and any other marketing  that you are pushing to your clients both past and present. Let your happy clients help you sell your services. With a positive review campaign in place, sooner or later you will outweigh any negative reviews.  This process will also keep you in tune with how your customers feel about your services and terms which in turn may help you eliminate future negative reviews.


We use a company that is called RatePoint which is a review site just like Yelp or Citysearch except it gives you more power to change a negative review into a positive review before it is ever published to the Web.


RatePoint gives businesses a seven day arbitration process that lets you:


·        Contact the person that gave you the negative lead

·        Remove a review that is not a client of yours

·        Remove a review if the reviewer does not respond reply to your email


RatePoint charges by the number of reviews you receive per month. Reviews that your clients provide can automatically be added to your website and can also be pushed to your business facebook account.


You still need a battle plan to combat the negative leads that you may already have. If you would like us to assess your online reputation give us a call.

SEO + PPC = Powerful Results

In “The key channels of search engine marketing“, I defined the differences between the two most popular online marketing methods - search engine marketing (SEO) and pay per click (PPC). Now I’d like to explain why it is a good idea to utilize both SEO and PPC simultaneously. Both SEO and PPC can be used to attain specific goals. Using one only may cause you to reach less than half of your online target market. Combining PPC and SEO is an optimum internet marketing strategy that provides excellent results.

Why Invest in PPC When You’re Already Investing in SEO?

Launching a PPC campaign can be properly done within a matter of days. Launching a website with ongoing effective SEO can take months and even years. Sure you can get a website up and running in a day if you wanted to, but it takes the search engines 60-90 days to index your web pages, rank them and then you still have to optimize the pages to move up the ranking ladder. Pay per click can quickly get you to the top of search engine results because that’s what you’re paying for. It is always a good idea to launch your PPC campaign as you’re building your website and adding effective SEO. Furthermore, I suggest sending PPC traffic to your website in those first 60-90 days so that search engines learn that your site is popular and should therefore rank it higher. After that time period, you should have enough user data to determine how to fine tune your PPC landing experience and move from a general website experience to a specific experience which gives you have more control over where your traffic goes and what it does.

Your PPC data can also help optimize your website. With pay per click campaigns, you learn which keywords produce the highest return on investment (ROI) and which product and services are of most interest to your target markets. Take this all data and insert those keywords into your website meta tags, content, and even blogs and newsletters. Super charge those product and/or service pages that are receiving most of your PPC traffic. Using PPC as a tool for determining how and what to optimize on your website can save you weeks and months of testing time.

The question I hear most regarding PPC is “Do enough people click on paid ads to be worth my investment?” True, 85% of clicks go to the left side (organic links). This means that most people are in research mode, looking for tips, history, reading testimonials, and the like. They aren’t paying attention to the ads. That is perfectly alright and even good. It has become second nature to ignore the ads on billboards, storefronts, and buses. This is called “ad blindness.” This is because the ads are irrelevant at that time and therefore are tuned out. When we are interested in certain products and services, the ads suddenly appear on our conscious level and then we really scrutinize them, looking for information that matches our needs. Let’s back up a bit. If 85% of online shoppers are in research mode, then there are at least 15% who are in the buying mode and are searching for ads that speak directly to them. It’s good that research mode folks aren’t clicking on your ad - that would drive down your ROI. Those that are clicking are more likely to buy, thus are worth your investment.

Finally, I can’t emphasize this enough: Once they click on your ad, you’re given information that tell you more about who is in the market for your service or product. The more you learn, the more testing you can do, and the more fine tuning you can make to your ad, landing page, and website that can increase your ROI.

If you’re still not sure if you should invest in pay per click, contact us, send us your questions, and we’ll offer you our consultation services for free. If you need help managing a pay per click campaign, we are here to help you obtain your goals.

May your best ads win!

The Key Channels of Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has evolved with  a new approach to “integrated marketing”. SEM guru and consultant, Andreas Ramos, defines integrated marketing as “the use of two or more marketing channels to sell a product or service.”  Online marketing campaigns have seen channels multiply rapidly over the last decade. Online marketing now consists of integrating search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC), email, webinar, blog, micro-blogging, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV. When venturing into SEM, it is wise to utilize as many channels as possible. However, there are two key search engine marketing channels that are essential to online integrated marketing and happen to be the biggest growth areas in Internet marketing….SEO and PPC.

SEO = Organic / PPC = Artificial
SEO = Organic / PPC = Artificial

For search engines there are two types of major links: unpaid and paid. The unpaid links are called “organic” or “natural” and are seen on the left side of a search engine results page (SERP). The paid links are pay-per-click ads and can be placed across the top of the SERP or on the right side (as shown above). Search engines are in complete control of where a website link ranks organically (what do you expect? It’s free). SEO, however, is the process which gives search engines a reason to rank websites higher organically. PPC lets advertisers pay to place links and are therefore known as “artificial”. Since they are paying for ranking placement, advertisers have more tools at their disposal to ensure top placements.

So what’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the art of building a website and its content with search engines and searchers in mind. To make your website investment worthwhile it needs to be visible to searchers and search engines. Search engine optimization allows this to happen for free.

The goal of search engine optimization is to target consumers who are in the “research phase” and are looking for informative resources about the products and services they are interested in. During this phase, Internet users tend to click on the “organic” links (as shown above). To rank organically, the website must be relevant to the keywords typed by the user, and therefore needs to be optimized for those specific keywords so that search engines know the website is relevant and can rank it accordingly making it visible to the user.

The process of SEO relies heavily on optimizing or modifying one’s website content, HTML code, and web page tags so that the website can easily be found when searching on…you’ve guessed it…search engines. Optimization, then, involves modifying the above components of a website with keywords. Many companies set out with the logical goal of ranking number one organically on major search engines, but they mistakenly choose keywords they think the website should rank on, not the keywords that consumers actually use to search for their product or service. Researching the words and phrases used by consumers may seem like a large investment in time, but when you see you’re return on investment (ROI) grow, you’ll be glad you took these crucial steps. Researching which keywords your consumers use can also help you when creating a pay-per-click campaign.

Pay Per Click (PPC)
As the name suggests, you pay when a user clicks on your ad. You’re ad can appear anytime/all the time, but you only pay when it has been clicked. What makes your ad appear are the keywords you have placed bids on. The amount of your bid (as well as the quality of your ad) can affect the rank of your ad.  If you do your homework, use the tools at your disposal to determine what keywords users are typing, you can ensure your ad with appear whenever those magic words are used. Simply put, advertisers have more control over their placement than they do with organic ranking if they do their research.

PPC has become a sought after form of advertising because it allows advertisers, for the first time in marketing history, to track the ad displays, clicks, and conversions (leads, sales, etc.).  And they can do so right down to the penny! You know precisely how much each click cost and how much you had to spend to get a conversion. This information is a marketing gold mine as it supplies data and research that can potentially increase ROI. For only a few hundred dollars, you can test and generate data that indicates the best consumer responses. And you can test pretty much everything - headlines, keywords, slogans, time of day, and even placement position, just to name a few. A/B split testing comes in handy when you want to know which headline produces the most clicks and conversions, or if you want to know which product price is optimal for selling. If you don’t test, you never know what you’re missing what is most likely to drive more revenue.

But pay-per-click benefits don’t stop there. Your PPC campaign can be designed to target not only specific keywords, but also specific countries and cities, right down to neighborhoods. By looking at your data and research findings, you can see who your consumers are, when they tend to click to buy, and what compels them to click on your ads. Where can you find get all of these wonderful statistics? I’m glad you asked…

In 2007, Google released a useful tool called Google Analytics. This analytics tool supplies enough statistics to drown in. But let us start with the statistics most important to users and search engines alike, keywords. Using analytics, you can find keywords that produce sales through the SEO channel and add those to your PPC campaign. It works in reverse too: you can find successful keywords and even slogans in PPC and use them to wield and strengthen your SEO power. You can compare costs and results, then measure those findings to determine optimization and campaign success and failures.  With this information in hand, you have the marketing power to make additional sales, sales you may never have imagined possible, and have a better chance of increasing your ROI for both SEO and PPC channels.

Now you may be asking yourself…Do I really need both channels? Can I get away with just PPC? Do enough people click on paid ads to be worth my investment?

All very good questions to ask, and I’ll have the answers for you in my next article. Check back soon!

How Search Engine Marketing is Different

As more and more web users discovered that search engines let them learn about things on their own, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) was born. Search engines allow you to access a database unlike any other. Whatever you’re interested in, there are most likely thousands of webpages on that topic, giving you facts, contact info, updates, and now marketing.

A major bonus to searching online for product information is that the consumer is in complete control. As a consumer, you can be annonymous. Learn about products and services without contacting vendors or dealers. Choose what you want to see; if you’re not interested, simply click onto another webpage. If you want to block popups, you’re free to do so (bye bye annoying commercials). If the information you read is misleading, you can exit immediately and go to the next website. Product and service reviews are usually instantly available. So you can shop entirely online, in your pajamas even, and quickly learn which products and services are right for you.

Since so much control is given to the online consumer, SEM has evolved into a completely different form of marketing; one that is based on the way consumers use search engines. Instead of pushing ads and messaging onto audiences, like print, TV and radio do, SEM creates webpages and advertising to give consumers what they want based on what they are searching for. This means marketing has to match the customer’s needs, be customer-centric, and can target customers who are actually ready to buy. Oh, and SEM is all about words.

Unlike other forms of marketing which use video and images, SEM uses words, or “keywords”. As you are reading this online, you understand that you may have found this article by typing words into the search engine query box.
For example, let’s say you were looking for a restaurants in Sacramento that serves India dishes (there’s not enough I must confess); you may go to Goolge, Bing, or Yahoo and type into the query box, “indian restaurants sacramento”. The search engine will index and rank the text of webpages that are the most relevent to the words you typed. So your search engine of choice serves up website links like,…/sacramento…/indian, and  local business results for indian restaurants near Sacramento, CA. These can all be found on the left-hand side of the search engine result page (SERP).

Search Engine Results Page

Search Engine Results Page

Let’s try typing in the query box “sacramento pool remodeling company”. Now you not only get served websites on the left-hand side of SERPs but you also see small ad links on the right-hand side and across the top. These ads are sponsered links and the advertiser has paid to list their ad there, while on the left-hand website links are free placements based on their relevance to the keywords used in the search engine query.

SEM lets advertisers choose between creating websites that are relevent to what the consumer is searching for, or pay for keywords so that their ad is visible when consumers search using those particular words.

It’s all about the words you, the consumer, use to search for what you want. SEM advertisers must learn what words and phrases in their industry are being used by consumers and design their marketing campaigns to include those magic terms.

SEM is constomer-centric, word-centric, and a lot more effective than TV, radio, and print advertising. In my next article, I’ll explain the marketing behind sponsored links and relevent free website placement, and how the two can increase advertiser profits and return on investment.

Do Your PPC Homework

Before you enter the world of Pay Per Click (PPC) do your homework.


What are Your PPC Goals?
It’s surprising how many companies and individuals skip this crucial step. They jump at the opportunity PPC offers to get great ROI; however, without a clear goal, they don’t get the great ROI. If you’ve followed my basic steps to set up a Google Adwords campaign, then you know how fast and easy it is to launch a PPC campaign. But smart online marketers know that much more goes into the set up of a campaign than entering billing and credit card information.
Planning and forethought must be implemented to craft an effective lead-generation campaign. If you’re patient and take the time to figure out what your realistic goals are, you have a much higher percentage of increasing your ROI, and fast.


To determine your PPC goals, ask the following:

What can your PPC campaign do for your business objectives?
What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) do you have in place for the measurement of the plan?
How do you plan on measuring the effectiveness of your PPC campaign versus the effectiveness of your optimization? What’s the difference?

Keep in mind that the end goal should not be more traffic! The end goals of your PPC campaign should be those conversions that speak directly to the business objectives and business model of the company. When you begin to optimize your campaigns, it will become clear how measuring the effect of the PPC campaign on the business objectives, not performance metrics, is critical to improving ROI.

Always Begin With the End in Mind: Your Landing Page
Decide which page of your Web site will best help you accomplish your goals, if you should have a separate page, and what the purpose of that page should be. You may discovered some very enticing ads, clicked them, then stumbled onto a website homepage with a cluster of colors, links, products, and information; what enticed you to click the ad is buried somewhere on that homepage. Do you dig for it or back out? Most back out.

Make sure your landing page is clean, simple to navigate and matches your PPC ad text. Visitors who don’t have to work to find what they’re looking for will appreciate your business more.

Does your landing page have a contact form? If the goal of your PPC campaign is to generate leads, take visitors to a landing page with a contact form or to your “contact us” page. If your primary goal is to generate sales, then the best landing page is the page where the searcher can buy your product or service in three clicks or less.
And if you just want to use PPC to reinforce an existing message, send them to a page they’ll recognize: a replica of another webpage you’ve supplied in the past that shares the same message. Finally, be sure your landing page has a call to action. Track that call to action to find out about the group you’re marketing to. Then test all optimization to that page, and test some more.

Choose the Right Keywords
Once you’ve figured out what you want your PPC campaign to do and where you want visitors to go, it’s time to think about the message. In PPC, the keywords you bid are your ticket to success. Choose only the keywords that are relevant to your product or service, as well as to your goals – and most of all what is the mindset behind those keywords.

Prospects have different mindsets and assumptions about how to fulfill a need and have different states of “buying readiness”. Prospects will first make sense of their options (they will use one set of keywords during this phase). After they understand their options, they will be ready to buy and use a different set of keywords during this phase. For example, singualar and plural keyward can imply different buying readiness phases. Someone typing “used car” into search queries is probably closer to buying than someone who types “used cars”. Plural searchers are usually in the research phase, while singular searchers have a solid idea of the item they want and are ready to buy it when they find it.

Listen closely to and read online what prospects in both phases are saying to determine the lingo they are using. Then add those keywords to your campaign. Practice thinking like your prospects: who are they? What do they care about? Talk about your prospects not about you and you’ll get more attention.

Through the same mechanisms, determine what I like to call “key-phrases” or “long-tail keywords”. These are multiple keywords strung into a phrase. For example, “car” is a keyword. “Used car” is a key-phrase; so is “used car for sale” and “red used car for sale”. Why does this matter? You are better able to craft your ads and landing pages to the searcher’s needs as well as possibly save a significant about of money on clicks. Long-tail keywords usually cost less per click because fewer people are searching for that phrase.

The keyword “car” gets an estimated 50,000 clicks per day and can cost anywhere between $125,000 to $230,000 per day; “used car” gets an estimated 1,500 clicks per day and can cost between $2,000 and $5000 per day, and “used car for sale” gets about 40 click at approximately $75 per day. Discovering long-tail keywords is your ticket to increasing your return on investment.

Remember your goal isn’t to get the most traffic (that would lower your ROI). Your goal is to spend less yet make more profit. Choosing the right keywords and key-phrases can make all the difference.

Go do your homework and check back with me soon when I explain how to write irresistible ads.

How to Create a PPC Campaign Using Google Adwords


Think Tank Leads specializes in increasing your PPC performance so that you can maximize your ROI. Our Paid Search Management Services can keep you from making costly mistakes or hinder your ads’ performance.

For those of you who would like to set up your own Adwords account, follow the basic steps below. Contact us if you have any questions or if you’d like us to manage your account.


For all beginners to (Pay Per Click) PPC and Adwords, we’d like to provide you with the basic guidance for creating an online campaign using text ads.  Follow the step by step procedure below to set up your first Adwords campaign.


·         Signing Up with Adwords:

1.       Go to

2.       Click on the Start Now button

3.       Either use an email address and password already created or click the “I do not use these other services” to create

4.       Set time zone and currency preferences

5.       Go to the email inbox you’re using to sign into Adwords and click on the link inside your mail from Adwords. Then click the “Click here to continue” link once you’re redirected to Google’s Address Verified page


·         Creating an Adwords Campaign

1.       Click the “Create your first campaign” button

2.       Name your campaign

3.       Choose the geographical location you want your ads to appear within

4.       Choose the “manual bidding for clicks” option, then set your daily budget amount

5.       Click on Save and continue


·         Creating a Text Ad (Be creative because space is limited. Promote special offers, your unique selling points, and use keywords related to your industry that get a lot of search traffic, see Selecting Keywords).

1.       Headline: 25 character limit

2.       Description Line 1: 35 character limit

3.       Description Line 2: 35 character limit

4.       Display URL: 35 character limit

5.       Destination URL: 1024 character limit (You must have a website)


·         Selecting Keywords

1.       If you already know which words you’d like to use, enter them into the box provided

2.       If you’d like to know more keywords with high search traffic in your industry, click on “Help me choose effective keywords” then click on “Keyword Tool”. This tool will give you keyword suggestions and you can sort the suggestions by search volume

3.       Set a maximum cost per click about on your “Search” terms


·         Account Setup

1.       Select a country or territory you will be selling within

2.       Billing details: I recommend choosing “Postpay Billing” where you’re automatically charged after you receive clicks. “Prepay Billing” works so that as you receive clicks, the cost is deducted from your prepaid balance. I prefer the postpay because I don’t worry as much about my ads being shut off unexpectedly when I run through my balance. It’s up to you.

3.       Read and agree to the Google Inc. Advertising Program Terms

4.       Provide credit care information and billing address information

5.       Save and Activate your account.


Your ads will start running after they’ve been reviewed by the team at Adwords and become eligible. Inside your campaign, you can create more ads, add more keywords, and much, much more. You’ve just created a PPC account that is fully measurable and enables you to track your spending down to the penny.  To learn more, such as how to advertise on the Google Content Network through Adwords, display ads on mobile phone, etc., Google’s Help is always in the upper right corner of the Adwords platform.


Think Tank Leads specializes in creating and managing PPC accounts. Request a free quote today!


Paid Search Has Revolutionized the Business of Advertising

Paid Search Pay Per Click

Relax & Let Paid Search Work for You

  • Build brand awareness;
  • Place your ad with your products name and price right in front of the consumer;
  • Write ads in minutes that catch the buyer’s eye;
  • Create ads faster and more inexpensively;
  • Respond to changing market conditions more quickly;
  • Test and refine ads and keywords;
  • Measure more and track more data than traditional media;
  • Know exactly what you’re spending down to the penny;
  • Place your ad at the top of search engines where highly qualified customers click when they are ready to buy.


Paid Search, also known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising has transformed the advertising model of old. Rapidly growing into a major sphere of online marketing, Paid Search advertising makes up nearly half of total Internet spending devoted to online advertising. In the US alone Pay Per Click spending has seen a double digit yearly growth since 2002. As more and more Internet users search the web for their needs, advertisers have invested less and less in traditional advertising vehicle such as network television, radio, newspapers and business magazines. That being said the growth in Paid Search advertising is bound to increase even more.


The increasing trend in Paid Search is due to two factors: increased use of the internet, and that PPC is a revolutionary model of advertising like no other. The former factor is no longer a surprise as Internet use has grown drastically in recent years. It’s the later factor that has most businesses signing up with PPC engines.


PPC a Powerful Marketing Tool

paidsearchgraphicPay Per Click is a great advertising tool because it lets you track the displays, clicks and conversions right down to the penny. Advertisers know exactly what each click cost and how much they spent on a conversion. Research and testing is made easy. For only a few hundred dollars, advertisers can perform A/B split testing to find slogans, page layouts, and special offers that produce the best results. Even keywords, the terms users type into search engine queries to find what their looking for, can be tested to determine which ones get the most traffic.



Paid Search lets the small guy compete on a more even playing field against the big guys. Because PPC lets you place your ad at the top of the search engines, you can compete against established, large corporations.


Paid Search Appears Recession-Proof

As the chart below indicates, during the last major economic downturn which began in September of 2001, traditional ad spending fell 10 percent in the overall US ad market according to AdAge. Paid Search advertising grew more than 175 percent that year. And in 2002 as the economy made a slow but steady recovery, traditional ad spending rose a modest 4 percent while Paid Search grew an additional 210 percent.



US Traditional Media Advertising

Spending Growth, 2001-2007 (% CHANGE)

US Paid Search Advertising Spending

Growth, 2001-2007 (% CHANGE)

2001 -10%

2002 4%

2003 6%

2004 9.5%

2005 3%

2006 .5%

2007 NA

Source: Advertising Age, Dec. 2007

2001 175.3%

2002 210.5%

2003 174.3%

2004 51.4%

2005 33.5%

2006 32.2%

2007 26.8%

Source: eMarketer, Jan. 2008


Ad Spending Growth,” AdAge Annual 2008, Dec. 2007


Get the Advantages of Paid Search

Improved lead generation _ Paid Search ads increase both the number and quality of leads. Because of its relative low cost per placement, a PPC ad can deliver more impressions per dollar spent, delivering more cost-effective leads.


Higher customer traffic: Paid Search campaign can and will deliver more traffic to a website. With very few exceptions, customer traffic rises dramatically.


Increased conversion rates:  A good Paid Search program that leads to a well-functioning website creates more conversions. It’s not how much traffic you drive to your website, it’s what the traffic does when it gets there.


Greater suggested sales:  Online conversions are an excellent predictor of sales and as we’ve seen, Paid Search leads to greater conversions. Online promotions often stimulate offline sales and vice-versa. And many of these suggested sales go uncounted.


Better Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) ratios: Paid Search makes a small budget go farther thanks to the targeted nature of the ads and their relative low cost versus the number of impressions, amount of traffic and conversions delivered.


Improved brand recognition:  By delivering more impressions with a brand-consistent message and graphic treatment, a company can enhance their overall image and brand awareness.


Instant advertising deployment, tracking and flexibility:  Paid Search ads can be tracked to provide advertisers with detailed information about how a paid campaign is performing and where adjustments need to be made. And all ads can all be adjusted in a matter of hours — not days or weeks — providing the necessary maneuverability to maximize ROI.


Paid Search Works

Paid Search has revolutionized business advertising because it’s measurable, flexible, cost effective and growing in audience, share of media budgets and creative applications. And when integrated with a good natural search engine optimization program and overall marketing plan, it can return more for every media dollar spent.


When you’re ready to find out just how much paid advertising can do for your organization, Think Tank Leads can help. Find out more about our Paid Search services, analytics and related topics at, or by calling us toll free at (800) 781-2755.




Blogs are Your SEO Power Tool

In my previous article, Businesses Should Blog, I give four reasons why blogging is key to business marketing, lead generation, and sales. Now I’d like to get a little tech-y and explain why blogs are a great
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool.

First and foremost, SEO has everything to do with search engines. Google, Yahoo, Bing…these are all search engines and you want your webpages to rank in the top search engine result pages (SERPs) to direct the most traffic to your website.

Search engines feed on content. All the words on your website should be viewed as tasty morsels for search engines to gobble up. This now brings me to blogs.

Search engines love, love, love blogs! Why?

Blogs are content. Blogs have words, original content, links linking to other blogs and webpages, and are created as often as the blogger can publish.

And what does this mean for SEO?

Blogging is easy search engine optimization for great ranking. You can change or add new content in seconds! Blogs let those who do not have a clue about coding, which includes most people, get their comments ranked on major search engines. Within in hours search engines gobble up your blog content and rank it by relevance to the searchers keyword query.

So instead of spending hours or giving hundreds of dollars to your web developer to create a webpage, you can set up a blog post in minutes and have your content ranked within hours. Quick, easy, and done.

What are you waiting for? Get blogging and get ranking!

Need some blog writing pointers? Read Basic Building Blocks of Blogs.

Let me know if you have any questions as you blog.

Basic Building Blocks of Blogs

Now you know the importance of having a blog for your business. But how the heck do you build a blog post? It’s easier than you’re probably thinking.  And it doesn’t have to take up exorbitant amounts of your time either. The following is what the best blogs have in common.

Blog Goal

Like anything else in business, you must begin with an end goal. How would you like to influence your community? How would you like to build relationships? How can you help your readers? Having a game plan for blogging will save you hours of thinking of what to write about next.

Building Blocks

Next, think of blog entries as building blocks toward a bigger idea. Instead of random blog topics, thread your blog posts together, building upon a main idea you’d like to communicate. This will also save you valuable time through the planning process as you separate ideas and categorize them into specified topics that link to one another. Soon you’ll have so many topics to choose from you’ll no longer have a problem coming up with an idea for a blog. You’re problem, instead, will be which ideas to elimiate.

Tantalizing Titles

Now the writing begins. Some bloggers start with a title, some start writing the content and then come back to a title. Some (like me) switch back and forth depending on mood. Which ever the case is with you, be sure your title is intriguing so that people are drawn to what your post has to say.

Take From the Tool Box

Starting blog posts with a question is an old tool in the writer’s toolbox. As you take a closer look at many articles, blogs, essays and even commercials, you’ll notice that starting with a question is still in vogue (and odds are, always will be).  It sometimes casts some kind of magic over my brain as I begin formulating my thoughts because it quickly puts me in the mindframe of my readers - why will they care to read this? How can I explain this for easy understanding? And so on and so forth, suddenly giving me more ideas and smoother ways to communicate them. Try this technique out yourself. You may be surprised by the power it gives you as a writer.

Make Your Blog Chunky

I mean this in all seriousness. Break your sentences up into paragraphs (chunking) so that you’re not overwhelming your readers’ eyes. Your blog will more likely be read all the way through when you make your blog chunky.

Brevity is a Blog’s Best Friend

Keep your blog short.  Readers don’t want to spend hours online reading your blog. Often readers are looking for information on the fly. If your blog has great ideas, it’s not so great of your readers have to spend a long time digging through your post to find them. They won’t anyways. Instead they’ll simply back out and look for someone else’s blog. Brevity is also a time saver for you. As I’m sure you have a lot more on your plate than simply writing a business blog.

To Finish or “Unfinish”

End your blog with either information on how you can help them further or simply leave the blog unfinished. Now I don’t mean stop in the middle of a thought and leave it at that. That would jsut make you lok unprofessional. By “unfinished” I mean leave something for your readers to hang onto. Like a question. Ask your readers for ideas, contributions, corrections, etc. Unfinished posts have a way of spurring others to comment, ask questions back, or contact you for more information.

And to create an example of an unfinished blog, allow me to ask you what blogging techniques have helped you? What blog topic would you like me to write next?

See that wasn’t so hard, now was it?

Businesses Should Blog

438223_businessmanWe have long ago turned a corner - blogging is just as important for a business as having a phone number. And if you’re business isn’t on this bandwagon you can bet your competitors are, and they are most likely making a profit from this method of Internet marketing. But it’s not too late…yet. For as many businesses that have started an online blog, there are still ten times as many who have not. That is somewhat amazing when you consider how many benefits blogging can offer your business.

Why Your Business Needs a Blog

If the majority of your competitors are doing it, you probably should too. In other words, there are two similar businesses online; one has a blog and is drowning in leads and profits - the other gets a sprinkle of leads and fewer sales in comparison.  Isn’t worth at least trying for 6 mo. or so?

Blogs are an awesome interaction tool. There’s so much you can do with a blog on the fly that may take you twice or three times as long to insert into a website.

  • You can interact with visitors instantaneously
  • Run polls and get results that tell you what your market is most interested in
  • Add videos, commercials, power point presentations, etc.
  • Make a really enjoyable experience for your visitors

Sale your stuff and more. Blogs are a wonderful marketing vehicle. They allow you to quickly update visitors on new products, special offers, and post images and videos to assist in selling. Blogs also let you earn money by selling advertising space with Google Adsense ads. You get paid each time a visitor clicks on an affiliates ad. Some bloggers even earn thousands of dollars a month by placing a banner of your favorite affiliate program on the sidebar. The sound of free money is music to my ears.

Search engines love blogs. Always on the lookout for new content, search engines eat up blog entries everyday. The more new content you add on a consistant basis, the more you’ll be rewarded by search engines with free traffic.

If you’re ready to build your blog, Think Tank Leads can help. We can set up a blog on your website for you and even write fascinating blog entries that will keep your visitors returning to your site (which is great for SEO ranking purposes).

Ready…Get Set…BLOG!