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#1 Secret to Online Success

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It seems as though everyone is looking for magic ‘make money online’ ideas and shortcuts, however no matter what strategy you’re using to monetize your site or make money on the web, there’s one ‘secret’ that you MUST use to be successful.

Here it is: take consistent action.

I know, I know, not much of a secret, right? Even so, I can’t stress this enough. The #1 thing that kills a website or a web business is inactivity. If you don’t consistently work on your web business, it will wither and die.

So what can you do to make sure your business is alive and well? Here are 2 strategies for building traffic I recently discussed with a client:

Advertise on Craigslist

Craigslist – craigslist.org – is a giant community with tens of thousands of potential customers for your business. For some businesses craigslist isn’t an option, but for most of you it can be a great source of free traffic.

If you have a local business it’s best to post in just your local craigslist directory, but if your business is primarily online you can run ads on several different craigslist sites at once. You may need to create more than one email address to post on different sites, but you can easily setup gmail, yahoo, and other free webmail accounts for this purpose.

I would recommend running ads in 3-5 different cities a week. Anything more than that and you run the risk of getting flagged.

[blue_box]Be creative with craigslist, but also be respectful. Put together a reasonable ad complete with images that focuses on the features/benefits of your site or service, then make sure to post your ad in the proper section. If you have a ‘free’ giveaway – free 20 minute consultation, free site membership, etc… – your ad will work the best.[/blue_box]

Other classified sites:

US Free Ads – www.usfreeads.com

Oodle Classifieds – www.oodle.com

Epage Classifieds – epage.com

Join a Web Forum

Web forums are a great place to build links to your site, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Here’s the right way:

Find a forum that’s related to your business. The easiest way to do this is to google search for “Your Niche Forum”. So if you have a dog training business, search for “dog training forums”. If you sell model trains, search for model train forums, etc… I’ve yet to find a niche that didn’t have an active web forum associated with it.

[yellow_box]Check the pagerank of the forum you’re thinking of joining by using the Google toolbar. The higher the pagerank the better, but shoot for at least PR5. Also, make sure you choose a forum that allows links in the signature.[/yellow_box]

Once you’ve signed up, resist the urge to post links to your site!!! It’s important to become a real member of the forum first. As the forum is related to your niche, you should have plenty of helpful information to contribute. Read posts and contribute information as you can. Post pictures, make friends, etc… See, sometimes marketing can be fun!

This shouldn’t be time consuming. Spend 10 – 15 minutes a couple of times a week and make a post or two.

After doing this for a couple of weeks, the forum should be comfortable enough with you that you can put a link in your signature without any problems. Your goal is to integrate your keywords into your signature in a non-obnoxious way. For example, if you have a dog training site and your keyword is ‘German Shepherd training’, then you’d want to put something like this in your signature – ‘Hi, my name is Amy and I run a german shepherd training website’ with your keyword linked.

[blue_box]Most forums use bbcodes, so your signature will look something like this: I’m yourname and I’m into [url=http://www.yourwebsite]your keywords[/url].[/blue_box]

I wouldn’t make it any more sales oriented than that. You may get clicks from the forum, but your goal is to show up for your keyword in Google, and linking your keyword in your signature will build a new link every time you post.

[green_box]Tech tip – if you want to build more links in a forum signature and not get flagged for them, use punctuation or smilies as your anchor text. You’ll lose the benefit of good anchor text, but sometimes it’s the only way to get a link.[/green_box]

The other benefit to joining web forums is it gives you ideas for your site. You get to interact with your customers and hear questions and concerns in a non-commercial light.

Keys for Success

The key to making either of these strategies work is consistent action. Post 3-5 links in Craigslist every week. Make 5-10 posts in a forum ever week. Pick a day or pick a time and do it consistently! Remember – websites are like plants. They require water, fertilizer, sun, and attention to grow. If you take consistent action your site will grow into a big beautiful tree complete with massive roots deeply entrenched in the search engines, but until then take action!

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