Post about "Shopping"

Using RSS To Promote Your Website

You have the website, the product, and compelling content to attract readers to purchase your book, your CD, or whatever items you choose to sell. You may notice a surge in traffic as you build your site and employ various search engine optimization tactics, but are not wholly satisfied.

You know you can attract more visitors if you could just reach them. You have a weblog attached to your site, and you write wonderful articles which receive much praise. What else is there to do?

Have you considered syndicating your content and products to users with an RSS feed? Do you even know what RSS is?

Simply defined, RSS is an XML-based format. XML, for the novice, stands for Xtreme Markup Language, a special coding language that represents information for resources in the World Wide Web. Using the XML, one can permit the distribution, or syndication, of content to users who collect such data through specialized aggregators, or readers. RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and once you get used to the idea it really can be simple.

By creating an RSS “feed” (think of a news ticker on a cable network, providing up-to-date information in real time), one can distribute product content, articles, pictures, and even embedded video, audio, and links. This information is used to entice users to click through to the host site.

RSS allows a person’s computer to fetch and understand the information, so that all of the lists that person is interested in can be tracked and personalized for them. RSS differs from a traditional website in that the information is usually presented elsewhere. Say for example an Internet user has a personalize start page with My Yahoo! On this start page is information on various sports teams so the user can keep track of the playoffs. Yahoo allows the user to edit what information is displayed so only the information the user wants is visible. The user may aggregate information from various sports websites that offer RSS data, and place it on the Yahoo page.

When the user visits his start up page, he will see headlines from the many sports websites fed into the page. If there is a headline that appeals to the user, a click on the link will direct him to the site. Think of RSS feeds as puzzle pieces, brought together to create custom designs for Web users all over the world.

Sites that allow for the opportunity to generate updated, fresh content can benefit from offering an RSS feed. Whether you sell products or services, want to promote a new book or film, an RSS feed attached to your site can extend your site’s reach and increase traffic. Having an RSS feed attached to a site also allows for the opportunity to submit to RSS specific search engines, thereby increasing awareness of the site. As you research RSS, you may find there are feeds for just about every subject of conversation, from sports to movies, multi-cultural issues to religion. Shopping sites use RSS to advertise sales, while travel site promote discount airfares for frequent flyers. There is no limit to what you can promote with RSS.

Creating an RSS Feed

Now that you have decided to promote yourself and your products with RSS, it is time to create a feed and attract the traffic you want. Creating a feed is different from creating website. Though there is content involved, you do not need to worry much about presentation and design, as different RSS readers tend to presently only the text and links associated with the feed content.

If you are unfamiliar with hand-coding XML, it would be best to create your RSS through either special software or through a third-party website that creates and hosts feeds. A quick Internet search on “RSS builders” and “RSS host sites” will lead you in the right direction.

If you have a weblog with a third-party host, you may note that this content is already being syndicated. If so, you may want to consider changing the focus of your blog to better sell your products, or create a second feed for better sale emphasis.

Once you have decided on the method of production, it’s time to produce!

Writing RSS content can be likened to ad copy. You want to use attention-getting headlines that will entice readers to click through to your site. As some RSS readers display only the headline rather than an abstract of the content, you want to be concise and compelling. “Save now on special purchase,” “Buy one, get one free!” Make the reader want to click to read more.

Depending upon the RSS aggregator, the reader will immediately click-through to your site, or be taken to your RSS content. Either way, it is important that all clicks eventually lead to the point of sale. Keep RSS posts short and direct. Tempt the reader to click through to your site to learn more about buying your book, CD, or product. Link to the sale page rather than the home page so a reader won’t become frustrated with having to navigate your entire site. Hot link a photo of the item using the IMG tag to give your feed an attractive look. If you use an RSS software or third party site, you may be able to use such coding, be sure to check.

Promoting with an RSS Feed

As search engines become more adept at collecting information, they are devising new ways to get this data. Some engines, like Google, have special spiders that mine the Internet solely for RSS-based information. If you want your RSS feed to be found, whether you host it on your site as an RSS or XML file, or host through a third party website, you will need to have the URL of the feed on your front page so people can subscribe to it.

Clicking on the link will not open the feed like a website, but depending upon the browser being used to view the feed it may take the user to an option that allows him to save your feed’s information. A quick Internet search on RSS tutorials will give you a special code you can put on your site to alert spiders to your feed, too. Also, there do exist RSS search engine where you can submit your feed for inclusion.

The one advantage to having an RSS feed is that what content you provide remains available to users who find it during search. To improve the likelihood of traffic increases, add to your RSS feed regularly, advertising all news and specials related to your books, music, or services. Your ability to prove Internet savvy can attract a new audience to your site, and in turn improve your sales.

Five Things To Look Out For When Picking A Home-Based Business

Interested in starting a home-based business? Why not? They can be lucrative, offer you the luxury of working from your house and provide you with great flexibility. All of these reasons make home-based businesses quite appealing. However, there are a few things you need to look out for as you venture forward in selecting which company is right for you.TRAINING – Many of the home-based business companies out there sign you up, send you a manual, offer a couple of conference calls and then you are on your own. There are many challenges that arise from this independent “self starter” training approach, the least of which is not being armed with enough basic knowledge or the foundation to really get behind your product or service. In an effort to avoid this, it is recommended to interview the potential companies you are exploring. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and get a sense of everything they offer in terms of training. Do they offer frequent webinars, are they available at every rank/level? Are their training programs free or do they charge for them? Do they provide one-on-one training calls? Is the company’s corporate office available if you have questions to ask? Are there training videos available online?Without a comprehensive hands-on training method that begins the day you start your venture and continues throughout your career, your chances for will be slim. Look for companies who don’t charge and offer an array of training options from day one, including live seminars in your area, weekly webinars, unlimited direct access to corporate office and progressive training throughout your career without costs or limitations. Ask the prospective company all these questions…they will either have the answers you are looking for or you will know to move on.SPONSORSHIP – When signing on to a home-based, direct sales company such as a party plan, new recruits are paired with sponsors. Those sponsors are supposed to guide you in your first few parties , offer you their ‘tricks of the trade’ and be an ongoing resource of information. However, the majority of companies’ compensation plans only pay sponsors on average, a commission equal to 1-3% of the Retail Sales achieved by their team members. So why would a sponsor want to take the time to go to your first party and subsequent parties to train you, when if you achieve $1000 in Retail Sales, she would only gets $10 to $30? Instead, her time is better served doing her own parties whereby she can earn $200, $300 or more.When exploring a home-based business, look for the company that, in addition to the traditional downline commission programs which pay you overrides, also provides robust incentives to the sponsor for helping their new recruit. Miami-based company Ultimate Nights, for example, offers sponsors 40% of the first $1000 their new recruit earns. That’s more than 10 times what the other companies offer. Therefore, it behooves them to train you and guide you. Although you may think, “Well, I’m just getting started, this doesn’t apply to me,” it will pretty quickly when you get your first recruit. You can also count on your sponsor to give you unparalleled support in the startup phase of your business, because she is being properly compensated for it.DIVERSITY – Home-based businesses typically offer a product or service. Your job becomes that of getting people interested in that product or service. Most of your prospective customers are the people around you – friends, family, neighbors, parents at the school, etc. That is your core center of influence.The more products you have to offer these people, the more opportunity that can arise and the more repeat business you can get. If, for example, you only sell cookware, then you are limited in the amount of times you can go back to your core group of potential “hostesses.” If you carry only cosmetics, then you are limited to selling your products to women who are looking for new cosmetics to try. Diversity of products allows you to entice your customers and hostesses over and over. This month, they may want facial products, but next month they are looking for a birthday present and decide to buy a candle.Look for companies that highlight LIFESTYLE product lines. These are in high demand and never get old. People are spending money on cost-conscious products that elevate or enhance their lifestyle, so when searching for the right company, DIVERSITY & LIFESTYLE is the key.NO INVESTMENT REQUIRED – Many companies have an array of startup costs from signup fees, starter kits, ongoing monthly costs for websites, fees for credit card processing and more. When starting any new business, we all look to lower our startup costs and keep our overhead low. Party plan companies usually offer a sample kit that can range from $100 to as high as $1,000. Although you will probably benefit from the purchase of a mid-level business/sample kit, look for companies who offer you a low-entry or zero product investment option for women who simply can’t afford to spend several hundred dollars to start their business. These options should include a viable program for “earning” that business kit and moving up the ladder as they build sales and build confidence. Ultimate Nights was the first company to offer an EARN YOUR KIT option, whereby the new consultant earns 30% business credit on their first $1000 in sales, which can then be used to purchase the business consultant kit.COMPENSATION – The key to making money in a home-based business is based on the structure of your compensation plan. Many companies promote heavy recruitment and base your compensation on getting and maintaining a large number of recruits. However, according to studies done on direct sales, the national average (based on all MLMs and Network Marketing companies) over the past 40 years, shows that the average number of team members recruited is 2.5. Therefore, expecting and dictating any number over that would be not only unfair but unrealistic. Although many people can recruit new people every month, it shouldn’t be a requirement. Seek a company that knows your value and bases your pay on that value, not on recruiting numbers.Additionally, beware of compensation plans that offer downline commissions to entice you, but that make the requirements to reach and maintain those so difficult that the commission is never paid to you.
Use this information as a guide to seek out the best company and at the end, find something that fits with your personality and belief system.