What should you write in your free report?

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A student asked me, “What should I write for my free report?”

If you don’t know why you need a free report, see my post, “Why you need a prominent web form on your website.”

What format should it have?

But before I explain what you should put in your free report, let me say that it doesn’t have to be a “report.” You need to put together some valuable information that people can access online, but it can take several forms:

  • A series of emails (often called an autoresponder, because you set them up in advance and automate the process)
  • A video or series of videos
  • An online course (video, audio, or written)
  • An ebook/report/white paper (usually in Adobe Acrobat PDF format)
  • A narrated PowerPoint presentation

Here’s a link to a list of 10 types of free products you can create.

free reportWhat should be in the free report (or whatever you use)?

You need to put yourself in the shoes of your visitors. What do they want? What information do they need most?

Then you need to come up with a title that will attract interest.

Here are some examples:

  • For a website on walking: 10 ways to become healthier by walking
  • For a website on managing blood sugar naturally: 10 natural ways to lower your blood sugar
  • For a website on effective writing and editing: Top 10 writing mistakes you need to avoid
  • For a website on Internet marketing: Master Plan for Creating an Internet Business

Yes, you guessed it; that last one is mine. I wrote the Master Plan because I thought that people would want a blueprint of all the steps needed to create a successful Internet business. And if you haven’t received it yet, sign up on the right.

But, would you like something else? What do you want to know about Internet marketing? Leave a comment and ask and I’ll answer in a blog post!

 

 

by Ellen Finkelstein

How should you create your website?

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So you want to have a website!

What’s the best way to create a website?

There’s no one right answer–it depends a lot on what you want to do with the website, how much money you have, how much time you have, and how comfortable you are with technology.

For small businesses–social entrepreneurs, for example–who are just starting out without a significant budget and who think they can roll up their sleeves and do some of the work themselves, I recommend WordPress.

By WordPress, I mean WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. I explain the difference here.

WordPress is mostly known as blogging software, but you can use it to create quite an extensive website, as well. However, if you have big plans, such as customizing pages for returning customers (as Amazon does, for example), you may want to go with an HTML site. It will take longer to create and it will cost you a lot more.

Most computer-literate people can create a WordPress site, but you need some guidance to make it look like a site and not just a blog. Without guidance, you’ll find yourself tearing your hair out — and we don’t want that!

WordPress is free and most web hosts offer support for installing it, but you can also go to www.wordpress.org and download and install it on your own. If you do that, you’ll probably want to have an FTP program (I recommend the free FileZilla).

WordPress lets you create pages and posts:

  • A page is like a web page–it has only the content that you put on it.
  • A post is what you use when you blog. WordPress automatically puts the most recent post at the top (plus creating a separate permanent page).

Blog posts almost always allow for viewer comments, while pages rarely do.

The trick to making your home page look like a home page is to set up your home page to be static, as opposed to always showing the latest blog post. First you create a page and then you set your home page to be static, showing that page.

There’s a little more to it than that, but once you have your static home page, you’ll be on your way!

I can coach you through the process of creating your own website. Once you have your domain name and web hosting account and have written a small amount of content, the whole process takes just a couple of hours! Contact me if you’re interested.

by Ellen Finkelstein

How to decide what to write about in your blog

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How do you know what to write in your blog? Think about your audience and what they want to know. What obstacles do they face? How can you help them overcome those obstacles?

You need to provide information on 2 levels:

  • Holistic, strategic knowledge
  • Details, tools,  and techniques

When you provide valuable holistic, strategic knowledge, you’ll be seen as a thought leader, an expert. That’s because experts focus on the big picture. Make sure some of your blog posts cover the big picture.

On the other hand, people need details so they can act. They need steps they can follow. This helps people progress.

So, balance your blog posts between big and small. Provide both. Maybe 50-50 is a good balance, but it depends on your topic. If your topic is technical, you’ll probably need to provide more details.

One way to know what your readers want is to survey them. You can try SurveyGizmo or SurveyMonkey, which are free up to a certain number of responses. You can get unlimited responses if you use a Google Drive form. Ask them directly what types of information they want to know and then provide it. Their answers may be different from what you expect!

How do you balance your blog posts?

by Ellen Finkelstein

Why you need a prominent web form on your website

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You might think that people will come to your site, be thrilled at the products or services you offer, and make a purchase.

Rarely so. Not if they haven’t heard of you. Unless you’re making traditional sales calls, it hard to sell to people who don’t know you. So they need to get to know you.

That’s where your web form comes in. See mine on the right?

You do this by offering them free information that’s useful to them. The information could be in your blog, but how do you get them to come back? (They could sign up for your RSS feed, but only a small percentage of people do that.)

Instead, most people will read what you have to say only if you send it to them in the form of an e-mail newsletter. It comes into their e-mail Inbox and they see it. If it’s valuable information, they’ll read it.

Over time, they’ll learn that you know your stuff and start to trust you. Then, they’ll buy from you.

The web form on your website invites people to sign up for your newsletter. Like this one!

But, people don’t know if they want your newsletter, so you offer something for free, like a free report or e-book. They want that, so they fill out the form and agree to be your subscriber at the same time. (Make sure that your web form makes this clear–don’t trick people into subscribing!)

  1. Create a free report.
  2. Add a web form to your site.
  3. Configure the web form so that people automatically get your free report.

You usually follow the instructions of your e-mail service to create the web form. If you’re using WordPress to create your site, you may need to use a plug-in.

When configuring the web form, either direct people after they confirm their subscription to a web page  which has a link to your free report or include a download  link in the welcome e-mail. Of course, you’ll need to upload the report to your website first.

 

by Ellen Finkelstein

How to choose a domain name

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When you want to start a new Internet business, an all-important question is, What domain name should I choose?“What should my domain name be?”

I’ve discovered a secret to choosing a domain name, so read on!

Your domain name is important because it is considered in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). So, if your domain name contains words that people search for, your website may appear higher on the list of results.

Another reason that your domain name is important is that it should be easy to remember. This helps people return and tell their friends about it.

The 3 domain name types

But using keywords is not the only way to go. In fact there are 3 types of domain names and any one of them can succeed.

 Type  Description  Examples Advantages Disadvantages
Your name Used when a business is based on one’s ideas,  creativity, work. Use when you want to become an Internet star! johnassaraf.com, markvictorhansen.comellenfinkelstein.com Creates a personal connection, lets you become a well-known personality. Ideal for authors, musicians, etc. Hard to sell, may seem small and less professional
Keywords Contains keywords that people search for, related to your business problogger.net, bigstockphoto.com Helps SEO, yo can sell it, more professional if you want to go big Impersonal, doesn’t create a connection with you
Trade name An easy-to-remember trade name Amazon, Yahoo, Google. Easiest to sell, easy to remember. May have coolness value. Hard to choose the right one, most short names are taken, you may have to buy one.

For most people starting a 1-person business, I recommend either type 1 or 2. Use your name if you want to become an Internet star! Otherwise, use keywords.

The secret to a great domain name

Let’s say that you decide to use keywords. But your keywords aren’t available! I recommend always (or almost always) going with .com for a domain name, so forget trying .net or anything else–.com is just to automatic with Internet surfers.

Here’s my secret technique!

  1. Come up with 2 great keywords that make a good phrase.
  2. Add a 3rd word that isn’t related, but is general enough to apply to almost anything.

For example, a friend/student wanted a website on Internet Marketing. It’s a tough one, because so many other people want that topic, too. I realized that there were 4 synonyms:

  1. Internet marketing
  2. Web marketing
  3. emarketing
  4. online marketing

So we looked for a 3rd word that she could add to any of these. We ended up with “star.” Her final choice was www.webmarketingstar.com. That’s an excellent domain name. It’s clear what it refers to, will help her SEO, is easy to remember, and sounds great!

Here are some words you can add:

  • mastery
  • success
  • star
  • peak
  • autopilot

What words do you think could apply to a lot of different websites? How did you choose your domain name? Leave a comment!

by Ellen Finkelstein