Friday, December 31, 2004

Random Suggestions for Would-Be Writers

Recently I have been doing a lot of writing for the Linknet Resource Libraries I am creating. These "libraries" are collections of articles about a wide range of topics, spread across numerous websites. Since I need many articles in a fairly short time, I have resorted to some of the more well-known article sites such as for material.

Many of the articles posted on article sites appear to be quickly written, and are often rather thin on original content. That is understandable since two of the primary objectives of posting articles have nothing to do with content or quality. The first objective is simply to stick your name in front of other people. The second one is to get a link or two pointing back at your website.

Of course this is a very short-sighted way of looking at the writing game. As serious writers will occasionally point out, what you say and how you say it are ultimately the two most important aspects of your writing. In the short term nobody much cares what you say. But in the long term your writing, and your worth as a consultant or advisor will be judged by the quality of your work.

With that in mind, here are just a few things I have noticed that bother me about many internet articles I have read. Some of these are grammatical points, and some of them are stylistic. Take them for what they are worth.

1. One of the most prevalent grammatical errors I notice is the inability to distinguish between contracted forms such as "they're" and "you're" and the possessive pronouns "their" and "your". If you are pretending to be a writer, shouldn't you know the difference between these things? Here is a simple test: if you can replace "they're" with "they are", then you have the correct form. If you can't, then you probably need the possessive ("their" or "your").

2. Many would be writers simply do not understand possessive forms and how they are different from other words ending in "s". I am not even talking about "it's" vs "its". I am talking about the difference between "ten boys named Billy" and "the boy's name is Billy". If you do not understand the difference, here is a very good article about apostrophes.

3. One of the sytlistic tendencies that is quite popular among internet writers is the use of short one sentence paragraphs. Often these sentences do not have the complete sentence structure we were told in elementary school they should have.

Sentences like this.

Or like this.

Frankly I think amateur writers should approach their "craft" with a bit more humility. They should take the time to learn grammatical rules, and they should stick with conventional sentence structure until they have proven they can actually write. This is especially the case with the type of relatively mundane subject matter dealt with in internet articles.

4. Some internet writers resort to what I call "lazy" techniques such as the use of "etc., etc.". I am really talking about myself here. To give an example of what I am talking about, imagine a sentence in which I am talking about words, sentences, paragraphs, etc., etc. This is a "lazy" technique because it allows the writer to leave a thought unfinished. The impression is that there are more things that can be added to the list, but in fact their aren't any. I have started to purge myself of this habit by replacing "etc., etc." with "and so on". I realize that isn't much better, but it will have to do for now. Eventually I will just force myself to finish my sentences.

5. Another "lazy" technique is using "asides", especially with brackets (you know, like this). Many internet writers seem to think this enhances the informality of their work. I suggest it is just self-indulgence. The next time you are tempted to put an "aside" into brackets ask yourself if you are not just indulging yourself in an excuse for not creating a proper sentence.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Learning the Blogging Vocabulary

Like so many others who started into blogging for a variety of fairly cloudy reasons, I soon found myself wondering about the acceptable protocols. In particular I would like to know if I am taking advantage of all the tools available to a blogger. I thought it would be useful to nail down some definitions.

I found a fairly old post (January 5/2003) where Phil Gyford defines some terms. You can follow the links and comments from there if your want to dig more deeply.

I also delve a little more deeply into this matter in a post at e_Marketing

By the way, I see Blogger does not support trackbacks.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

List of Free Submit Website Directories Created

I've been working hard pulling all of my Linknet Resource Pages together so I can being promoting the service with gusto by the middle of January. I've also decided to list as many of the key sites in the Linknet Network with as many directories as I can find. So that has meant I've spent a couple days searching for directories and updating my information.

I hope to eventually create lists (directories?) of directories in the following categories. I've linked the general web directories page because that one is more or less functional (although I hope to add more sites as I find them):

General Web Directories
Specialized Web Directories (e.g., Real Estate, Golf, Web Design)
Link Exchange Directories or Sites.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Testing BlogJet

I have installed an interesting application - BlogJet. It's a cool Windows client for my blog tool (as well as for other tools). Get your copy here:

"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers." -- Pablo Picasso

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Doing Local Business Online - Will My Product Work?

Can I sell my products online to my local area?

The question is whether or not you can reach your local market online. Forget about delivery problems for the moment. You don't have to ship your product a thousand miles. You just want to take the same product you are already selling in your current local area and promote it online. You want to know whether marketing your product online has any chance of generating new sales, or whether it might create more problems than it is worth.

Are some products suitable for marketing online and others not?

The "products" we are talking about here include both services as well as hard goods. Think of all the plumbers, home renovators, auto refinishers, pool cleaners, landscape suppliers and so on in your community and ask yourself if it is feasible to market these kinds of products and services online.

For instance, say you sell landscape products such as paving stones, top soil, crushed stone and so on. And say you already have an established business in your local area. Your geographic market area is roughly that area that you can reach with your trucks in less than, say, 30 minutes. So in other words, your target market area is any place within about 25 miles of your shipping depot.

Would it be worth taking this product online. Is your local target market big enough? Will online promotions reach a significant number of people in your local target area?

Well, it depends. To do effective online promotion you will have to create a website. Then you will have to create some sort of online marketing program. And then you will have to put a response system in place to answer customer enquiries and take online orders. None of this is free. Most of the costs will be in designing and creating the website. But there will be ongoing costs for regular marketing efforts and online advertising.

Regular marketing efforts? Online advertising? Absolutely! It is important to realize that you will be wasting your money if you just set up a website and expect customers to flock to it. It just won't happen. You need an ongoing marketing effort that includes, as a bare minimum, Search Engine Marketing and probably Pay Per Click Advertising.

I suspect that almost any product can be marketed online if you do it right. But it will be very difficult to predict the results. All you can say with assurance is that if you are persistent you will eventually gain some online "presence". And that should eventually translate into sales.

Consider some other completely different product or service. For instance, say you are a chiropractor. Is it worth taking your product online? Not just to create an online brochure, but to actually generate new contacts, new leads, and new customers? Will it be worth the effort?

My guess is it would be worth it, but you had better take the long view. There may be ways to gain instant recognition or instant clients, but I would not count on it. What you can count on is that a concerted, sustained effort over a long period of time will help you create a web presence and establish you as one of the leaders in your area. And that will result in sustained and lasting results.

In the next post I will discuss "how to make an impact".

Rick Hendershot is a marketing consultant, writer, and internet publisher who lives in Conestogo, Ontario, Canada. He publishes several websites and blogs, including Trade Show Tips, The Linknet Network of websites, e_Marketing, SuperCharge Your Website with Power Linking, and many more.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Doing Local Business Online - The Conventional World View

Bricks and Mortar Store vs Online Store — The Conventional World View

Say you want to open a store to sell widgets, and let's pretend you have a choice. You can either open a bricks and mortar retail store on Main Street, or you can open a web store and ship widgets from your garage.

Some of the differences seem obvious. At first blush, it would seem that your bricks and mortar store would probably cater to a local market with walk-in traffic, whereas your web store would focus on a non-local market. In turn, this would have an influence on how you define your service. Perhaps your physical store would focus on low prices and speedy installation, whereas your cyber-store would carve out a relatively narrow niche catering to a specialty market. What this clearly suggests is that you do NOT try to reach local markets online. You use more traditional marketing strategies.

Thinking about it in this way gives us the "Conventional World View". In the Conventional World View we have two different models. We can either open a Bricks and Mortar Store and cater to local markets, or we can open an Online Store and cater to non-local markets. Here are some other features of the Conventional World View...

In the Conventional World View Bricks and Mortar Stores deal with local markets. The products sold in a Bricks and Mortar Store are usually fairly general in nature — groceries, lumber, gasoline, dental services, child care, and so on. You normally specialize in some general area, but your specialization cannot be so narrow that there are not enough local buyers to support it. For instance, you might be able to find enough local customers for a specialty cheese store, but probably not if you only sell cheddar cheese.

Also, delivery is not an issue for Bricks and Mortar Stores. Either customers pick up goods, or you have successfully addressed the delivery issues.

In the Conventional World View Online Stores deal with non-local markets. In this case, products tend to be more specialized catering to a "niche" market spread out geographically. You are not hampered by the same restrictions as a Bricks and Mortar Store. Now you can open a cheddar cheese store, because there will probably be enough prospective online customers interested in your product. Delivery is a major issue and tends to determine whether or not your product is feasible. Generally this means that online products are either digital or can be delivered economically "at a distance" without excessive cost or damage.

This is the "Conventional World View" — two different types of stores for two different types of products and two different types of markets.

But changes in online technology and behaviour patterns are bringing inevitable challenges to the Conventional World View. More and more business people are asking: "Can I use online techniques to market my products or services to a local market? Can I sell my dental services, pool cleaning, real estate services, landscaping products, discount tires, or even pizzas or Indian cuisine to local markets using online techniques?"

Who should care about this question?

Anyone who is in business should care about this question. Why? Because times and business conditions are changing. Changes are always both positive and negative. They are negative because they present challenges that many business people will not be able to meet. They are positive because they present opportunities for those of us able to "go with the flow".

The challenges are significant. As more and more people come to rely on the internet for information, the traditional media — print media in particular — will become less effective and more expensive. Printed local directories like the Yellow Pages will become less relevant because they will be out of date compared to online sources.

Competition has also made this field more fragmented. The monopoly that certain companies have had on the data that goes into local directories has generally been broken, so new players have entered the field. Fragmentation means that covering your market now requires buying more ads to reach fewer people. The gravy train that made the Yellow Pages so dominant has ended. Eventually the entire structure will collapse into a pile of second rate directories piled in the corner collecting dust.

The opportunities are equally significant. If it is true that the more and more people are moving online, then it is also true that it is just a matter of time before people use the web as a source for more and more local information. Think of movie listings, for instance. If you could find a handy, reliable, and easy-to-navigate online source for local movie listings would that not be preferable to searching through the local newspaper? Especially if you don't have a local newspaper?

So that means if your local business does not have a presence on the internet you will not be found by the increasing number of people using the web as a source of information.

On the positive side it means that those who DO have a presence will be able to capture an even more significant chunk of the online attention. Think about that for a minute. If you could make your Indian food restaurant or your landscape products consistently come up in the top one or two searches for "Indian food in Denver" or "topsoil in Calgary" wouldn't that have a major impact on your business?

Next: Part 2 — "I don't have a product that is marketable online."

This entire series of posts will be entered in the Linknet Marketing Library.

Fantastic Linknet Deal - Real Estate Section Ready

I've just spent three solid days working on the Real Estate section for my Linknet project. This involved posting more than 30 articles to a new "Real Estate Article Library", and then spreading them out across varous websites (22 to be exact). That makes the Real Estate section the most advanced and "ready for prime time". In fact I was spurred on by two subscriptions to the service from real estate websites. Posting their links reinforced my feeling that this service is going to be an incredible value.

Right now, here is what you get for $39usd -- soon to be increasing significantly...

First link on this many pages...

Second link on this many pages....

Friday, December 10, 2004

Is Power Linking Cheating?

Over the last few weeks I have come to the conclusion that exchanging links is a waste of time.

I get far too many requests from people who either have junk websites, or sites that are completely unrelated to any of mine (gambling, for instance). There is no point trying to explain why you don't want certain links. These people simply don't care. They're just engaged in a relatively pointless numbers game.

Add to that the fact that almost all of these link exchange pages — including my own — have no Page Rank. What that means is that exchanging links this way is worthless. Worse, it is a waste of time.

Is there an alternative?

Whether right or wrong all of us in the website game are held captive (to some degree) by the Page Rank system. And the Page Rank system is based on links. This is why absurd activities like "link exchanges" were invented in the first place.

So we all need links. Especially those of us who are relatively new to the game. Are there ways of getting legitimate links without feeding on the bottom for two or three years while you wait for somebody to notice your brilliant website?

Yes, there are. They are called "Power Linking Strategies". But before just assuming you know what I am talking about I want to put Power Linking in its rightful place, and tell you why I think it is not SPAM and not cheating.

Why do we do this? Some background

What has spawned the current link exchange frenzy is the fact that Google puts such a high value on inbound links (links pointing at your site). The entire "Page Rank" system was set up at Stanford back when the founders of Google were post-graduate studends there. The system clearly mimics the egg-headed academic reliance on "citations".

Academics (university professors and researchers) publish papers in academic journals to show they are actually doing something. The importance of a given article is eventually rated based on the number of "citations" an article has. If Professor Schwartz has 5 papers published in a prestigious academic journal and other scholars quote or refer to those papers, say, 30 times, then Professor Schwartz becomes that much more important and likely to get tenure or a pay raise, or whatever it is these guys get.

As far as it goes this seems like a fairly decent system. It is a system based on "merit". If your research has merit as judged by your peers, it will be referenced. So the more citations your research gets, the more valuable it is judged to be.

I have no idea how often academics try to abuse this system. Imagine a professor going out of his way to plant spurious references to his previous papers, or colluding with another researcher to trade citations with him. Or even better, paying someone to refer to this or that paper whenever he or she publishes something.

That kind of abuse would be a pretty serious challenge to the merit system, and I think would be pretty obvious in the stuffy world of academia. And there would be relatively simple ways of controlling it — if they really wanted to control it*.

But as with most things, when applied to the internet this system soon proved to be the object of all kinds of abuse. Webmasters very quickly learned how to manufacture bogus links. One way was to generate thousands of pages of jibberish and plant them at different places on the net. Another was to create forum posts and blog entries -- again with no real content other than a bunch of keywords strung together in semi-sensible order and punctuated with correctly formatted links. Still another was joining hundreds of "free for all" link directories.

Exchanging links is another example of this type of abuse. The Page Rank system assumes that Webmaster A links to Webmaster B's site because he likes what he sees (reads) on Webmaster B's site. But what if they just agree to swap links with no regard to content? That becomes an abuse of the system.

The first line of defence for Google is to label this kind of thing SPAM and then simply disallow links from such sources as counting. Sometimes the target sites of these bogus links are even penalized with a negative score, or banned from (free, not paid!) search results.

Is the Page Rank System too restrictive?

In the next segment I discuss whether the Page Rank system as most people understand it is "fair". Two things immediately come to mind...

First, a system based on "citations" will favor "the establishment". A cite which has been around a long time will have "momentum" and lots of citations. It is like tenure. Once you have it nobody is going to take it away from you. In the world of internet commerce that would be a tremendous disadvantage to the new guy on the block, no matter how good his or her product was.

I also ask how Google could possibly reconcile advertising with a pure Page Rank system? We don't normally dole out billboards or TV ads based on "merit". If you want a billboard and you have the money, you get a billboard (assuming your ad meets certain basic standards of acceptability). Google themselves are a perfect example of their willingness to modify the pure PR system if money is waved in their face. I'm talking about Google Adwords here.

And then in the third segment I put "power linking" into the mix. If the Page Rank system is viewed in an overly moralistic way, certain types of Power Linking that seem fine to me might be considered cheating. I try to describe what I mean by an "overly moralistic" view of the Page Rank system, and I argue against it.

Stay tuned for Segments 2 and 3.

NOTE *I don't mean to sound naive here. I am aware that many academic studies are now paid for by corporate interests, and that the results are correspondingly tainted. This really supports both of my main points. Point 1 is that in the world of academia the merit system is relatively easy to police. Point 2 is that as soon as you leave the ivory tower environment things get a lot messier.


Rick Hendershot is a marketing consultant, writer, and internet publisher who lives in Conestogo, Ontario, Canada. He publishes several websites and blogs, including Trade Show Tips, Web Traffic Resources, Marketing Bites, SuperCharge Your Website with Power Linking, and many more. He is also a closet philosopher.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A Disturbing Observation about My Link Pages

Last July when we were golfing in Ireland for a few weeks I did quite a bit of work setting up link exchange "systems" for my various Linknet websites. Since I administer more than 20 active sites I felt it was important to inject some automation into the link exchange process.

I tried two or three scripts and eventually settled on LinkMachine. The reasons were pretty simple: LinkMachine was relatively easy to set up, actually seemed to work, had numerous features that allowed semi-automatic link exchanging, and had a growing group of LinkMachine users who could exchange links virtually automatically. The program also does not require a database installation (most require MYSQL) and generates static html link pages on the fly. I felt this was important because I have had spotty results getting dynamic pages indexed. I ended up installing this program on about 15 sites, and left two or three with a "manual" system where I would actually have to go in and adjust the appropriate link exchange when I wanted to add a link.

If you have followed any of my previous posts, or checked out my Power Linking Course you know that I have a keen interest in linking strategies. You may also have noticed that my faith in link exchanges of the LinkMachine kind has been steadily declining as time goes by.

Since setting up LinkMachine I have not expended much effort doing manual exchanges. I just respond to requests that come in and register certain sites with the odd directory. But that's it. As I mentioned above, LinkMachine generates static pages on the fly using my templates, updates the pages when a new link is added, and retains the same page name. So that should be an optimal arrangement as far as Google is concerned.

Yesterday I had a chance to look at the link pages on one of my main sites Small Business Online. I was a more than a bit dismayed to find that none of the LinkMachine generated link pages on this site have any PR. That's right -- "0"!. This is a bit odd, since the index page pointing directly at these pages has a PR of 4. And that usually means they will benefit from the direct link from a page with decent PR...but that was not the case this time.

So I looked around at some of my other sites and sure enough. All the automatically generated link pages have a PR of zero. That's not good. That means the links on these pages pointing to my link partners are basically worthless.

So I went a step further and looked at the link pages of some of the sites who have exchange with me and who also use LinkMachine. Same thing. Every page PR0. In fact I have found this is generally the case with all link pages -- manual and automatic. Very few of them have any worthwhile PR. Most webmasters seem to throw their junk links on these pages and have very little concern with pumping up their PR.

A couple of interesting exceptions are the three sites where I have manual link pages. You can see the pages here:
Trade Show Tips
Free Card Business Card Displays, and
Trade Show Display Experts. This last one is actually in pretty healthy shape. All of them are worth exchanging links on.

The conclusion at this point is inescapable. The automated link exchange program is a waste of time. Unless I can discover why this is happening -- for instance, maybe Google doesn't like the long involved page names generated by LinkMachine -- I would be better to scrap the automated system and concentrate on more slowly building my manual pages.

In the meantime, I will just start creating manual pages that I can use for exchanging worthwhile links. When I get around to developing a "system", the pages will be in place, and they will already have developed some PR.

-- Rick

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Getting Down to Business with Linknet

I've spent the last two days working on Linknet pages. Interest is starting to build and I'm getting the odd inquiry here and there. One marketing guy from the UK wondered if I'm setting up an affiliate network.

Answer: YES.

But not until I have all the details ironed out. The timing is just about right. My pages across the network are starting to build Page Rank. And now I just have to start fleshing out the pages by replacing some of the duplicates with fresh material. I just finished doing this with the Golf Article section. I added 12 pages of new material (new articles), and created an index page that will interlink them all. That means there will be at least twenty new pages pointing directly to each of these articles.

I also expanded the article entering system developed late last week for Small-Business-Online Articles. It is a very simple system using just one .php entry form pointing to various folders. Following on my discovery on Friday that my dynamic pages are not showing up in backlinks, I decided to hedge my bets and make my most important entries into static pages.

I'm not completely familiar with this blogging software, but it appears that static (html) pages are created by blogger for this blog (Marketing Bites), but I don't think that is the case with my b2evolution blogs over at my biz blogs. So I've started with The Weekend Golfer, my golf blog.

I created a simple entry form, and all the posts will get entered by copying and pasting, and then turned into static pages and automatically indexed. The running article summary will also serve as my home page for The WEG. This kills two birds with one stone -- I had been wondering what to do in order to kickstart The WEG, so now it's done.

I've also fallen behind in making my audio versions of these posts, but will catch up tomorrow morning.

-- Rick

Saturday, December 04, 2004

How are My Articles Doing?

Now that a few days have passed since the conclusion of "The Vinyl Project" I thought I should check to see whether any of my posted articles are showing up in searches for my MIKWs (Most Important Key Words). I did searches for four of my MIKWs in both Google and Yahoo, and here is what I found:


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KW: "vinyl banners"
Engine: Google:
Article: "Design Tips For Vinyl Banners", #31
Soruce, Placement:,

KW: "vinyl banners"
Engine: Yahoo
Article: none in first five pages
(note: is #4 and is at #5)

KW: "vinyl banners"
Engine: MSN Search
Article: none in first five pages
(only listing is for "" (#50)- a completely inactive site)

KW: "vinyl banners america"
Engine: Google
1. "The Lowly Vinyl Banner..." #2
Source: This is an old article, picked up by the webmaster of this site.
2. "Design Tips for Vinyl Banners", #4
3. "Putting Images on Large Vinyl Banners", #5
3. "The Many Ways ...Vinyl Banner", #6
(nothing else in the top 50)

KW: "vinyl banners america"
Engine: Yahoo
Articles: None
(My sites score #1 thru #5. The only "articles" to score are Linknet articles at #15 and #16)

KW: "vinyl banners america"
Engine: MSN Search
Articles: None in the top 50
(My sites score #1, #2, #3, #7, #8, #23, #27, #30. Also 3 listings on the first page are spam redirect pages)

KW: "vinyl banners canada"
Engine: Google
1. "The Lowly Vinyl Banner...", #2
Source: This is an old article, picked up by the webmaster of this site.
2. "Design Tips for Vinyl Banners", #4
3. "The Many Ways ...Vinyl Banner", #5
4. "Putting Images on Large Vinyl Banners, #12
5. "Tips for Putting Images...", #25
6. "Vinyl Banner Designs that get notices", #38
source: (old placement)
7. "What is a PopUp Display?", #46
(NOTE: article picked up and published. These guys stuck some of their links into my article, but left my links intact.)

KW: "vinyl banners canada"
Engine: Yahoo
1. "Vinyl Banner Designs that Get Noticed", #4
Source: Canada Display Graphics, Article Pages, old placement
2. "Put Your Most Important Message on Your Business Card", #20
Source: Linknet Printing Services Pages, (moderately old placement)
3. "Put Your Most Important...", #21
Source: Linknet Page on (moderately old placement)
4. "Make Your Vinyl Banner ...Masterpiece", #24
Source: BF Printing Newsletter 5. (moderately old placement)
NOTE: This site has always scored well for me, but was not (yet) included in this round of placements.)

NOTE: 16 out of the top 50 listings are my sites or articles, inlcuding #1-#6.

KW: "vinyl banners canada"
Engine: MSN Search
1. "Vinyl Banner Designs that Get Noticed", #4
Source: Canada Display Graphics Creative Services Articles (older placement)
2. "Put Your Most Important Sales Message...Business Card", #14
Source: SBO Linknet Articles (2 months old placement)
3. "Put Your Most ... Business Card", #15
Source: Creative Services Linknet Articles on (2 months old placement)
4. "Make Your Vinyl Banner ...Masterpiece", #24
Source: BF Printing Newsletter 5. (moderately old placement)



1. Google indexes articles from specific sites very quickly. Yahoo and MSN do not.

2. Certain sites consistently score while others consistently do NOT. This confirms my previous conclusions.
The sites that do best are: (didn't use it this time)

Maybe if I was to do a "submit" for some of the others they would be indexed more quickly.

3. Generally Google puts more emphasis on "articles" than Yahoo or MSN.

4. No dynamic pages reported in any of these searches. No articles from any of my database sites. This is hard to swallow. SEO "experts" and reps from the engines are inconsistent about this, but the facts speak for themselves.

I will do further analysis of more keywords, and try to do a more concise summary of my conclusions in a few days.

-- Rick


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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Vinyl Project - Week 2 Report

Well, here it is Day 14 of The Vinyl Project -- the day I was supposed to have finished my posting of 12 different articles on at least 10 different article sites.

Guess what... I actually finished (more or less). I say "more or less" because I felt I should drag out the posting on a couple of the last sites, just because of the way they are structured. But I made up for this delay by posting on some of my own sites (see the next post).

The sites I have posted "Vinyl Project" articles on are:

And that does not even include a couple others I have done some preliminary posting on, and intend to do more:

Nor does it include any of my own sites, most notably,

This project has rejuvenated my interest in writing and publishing articles en masse -- what I might start calling Power Publishing.

See my next post for more about that topic.

-- Rick

Power Publishing - Using Your Own Asseets

Here's a Power Linking Strategy I have not discussed much, simply because I have been too busy to fully take advantage of it.

Power Publishing on Your Own Site(s)

The strategy is just another version of creating content and making sure to carefully link back to your most important pages. For the sake of simplicity, let's call these content pages.

Create big batches of content pages

The idea is to create big batches of content pages. They can be on your primary site; or if you have one or two or more secondary or support sites, these content pages can be on those sites. The important thing is that these pages be optimized for the type of content you want to promote -- to reinforce the page or pages you are pointing back to. That way, embedded links pointing back to those target pages will have more force. They will be more "relevant" because the context in which they are found will be "relevant" to your target page(s).

Two kinds of content pages: articles and "tips"

It has always seemed to me that there are two basic kinds of "content pages". There are article pages and there are tips pages (I'm sure you can think of others.) Both of these formats ("articles" and "tips") lend themselves to being done in what I have called "batches". By "batches" I mean instead of writing one super duper (overly long?) article about, say, Search Engine Optimization, you can write five or six (or twenty-five or twenty-six) shorter articles. Remember, Google see links on specific pages (at least that's what gets reported), so you might as well create five or six pages where you might be tempted to create only one.

In other words, don't write just one or two articles about Search Engine Optimization. Write a whole bunch. Narrow down your focus and expand little insignificant points. The truth is, people can't retain more than a skimpy little bit of information with each read anyway.

Put your batches into sections

That means you should end up with article sections. A section for this topic, and a section for that topic. And a bunch of articles in each section with links pointing at your most important target pages.

You can see how well the concept of "Tips" fits this formula. No matter what area you are involved in, you can create all kinds of little helpful tips and publish them on your website. Put each tip on a seperate page, and make sure you embed your links within relevant keyword-rich text with anchor text pointing back to your most important target pages.

1000 Trade Show Tips

For instance, I have just started creating a new feature called 1000 Trade Show Tips. Each tip will have at least two keyword-rich links pointing back to my two most important target pages. That's a lot of links. You can do the math.

It's also a lot of work. First you have to find the content, and then you have to properly organize it.

Here is what I am doing for my 1000 Tips section. I am starting out by taking some of my previously written articles and lifting paragraphs from them. In other words, I am turning each paragraph into a "tip". Believe it or not this more or less works. Each article produces about 20 tips or so. 50 articles and I've got my 1000 tips. I will also make sure that I write my future articles this way -- so that each paragraph more or less stands by itself as a "tip".

Organize your content pages to make it easy to create more

Finally, a comment on organization. I've tried quite a few different ways of organizing articles (content pages), and most have been cumbersome and hard to work with. What is required is a simple script that lets you enter "content" into a web form and that then posts that content in pages formatted according to a preset template.

I spent quite a bit of time looking for this kind of script over the last few days. I investigated several "Content Management Systems", and "Article Managers", but most have two major drawbacks: 1. They are overkill for what I am after -- too much setup, and too many options. All I want is a way of posting and indexing articles in several sections. 2. They post the articles to a database and do not usually create static (.html) pages. Yes, I know some systems do create static html pages, but I have not yet found one I like.

The little script I settled on is called Article Manager 02. It consists of about five files. Like most .php scripts you have to do some configuring. In my case I modified the templates to give me the look I wanted, and then created five or six different sections with an integrated index.

To post articles you go to a very simple article entry form. You enter your article (html works perfectly), and it gets posted to its own static page (in my case a .shtml page). A summary of the article gets posted to the index page. So you end up with a summary page with titles, dates, short summaries of all the articles. It's very simple, very neat. Click here to see my newest Marketing Article Directory. I posted 15 articles this morning in about an hour and a half.

-- Rick

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