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Diane Aull

Learn more about the ways Diane can help improve the performance and profitability of your business web site, or request a no-obligation personal consultation, by visiting www.NineYards.com.

No Shortcuts to Social Success

Is social bookmarking a complete waste of time? Or is it more a factor of how some marketers are attempting to use social media?...

Go Link Yourself!

Why do webmasters and site owners spend so much time obsessing over external links, and so little time even thinking about their internal site navigation?...

Taking my Pet Peeves for a Walk in Linking Park

A mini-rant on the subjects of linking, the game of "telephone" and site optimization techniques....

XML Sitemaps Are Not All That

Oh, dear! According to an unsolicited email I recently received, the Google XML sitemap for one of my websites is "missing." Should I be concerned?...

Marketing in Hard Times: Pricing

Is it a good idea to cut your prices when times get tough? When money's tight, it might seem that lowering prices would be the thing to do to stimulate more sales. But it's not always that simple - sometimes cutting prices can do more harm than good....

Copywriting Workshop - SBM Unleashed

Strong website copy can increase your conversion rate and improve your search engine rankings. In this session, Heather Lloyd-Martin and members of the audience review and offer suggestions for websites offered by three volunteers to help them improve their website copy. You're sure to find ideas here you can apply to your own site....

Viral Marketing Workshop - SBM Unleashed

Have you considered launching a viral marketing campaign? When it goes well, viral can be a cost-effective way to get the word out about your product or service to huge numbers of people... but, unfortunately, most viral marketing campaigns fail. What do you need to know, what do you need to do to maximize your chances for success? Jennifer Laycock shows us the way, with real-world examples of campaigns that worked. Learn not only what succeeded, but why....

Drive Business Without Driving Yourself Crazy - SBM Unleashed

Anita offers ten tips for small business success based on her own experiences. Learn realistic and practicals ideas on how to make the best use of your time, leverage partnerships and maintain the kind of focus that leads to business success....

Understanding Analytics - SBM Unleashed

Matt Bailey says analytics are fun - and by the end of his presentation, you'll not only agree, but you'll probably love analytics almost as much as Matt does. In this lively and entertaining session, you'll learn the difference between people and cows, the importance of "buckets," why ranking number one for the term "UPS" might not be all it's cracked up to be, and why you might want to avoid wearing a red shirt (at least, if you're on the Starship Enterprise and Captain Kirk is looking for volunteers to beam down to the planet below). Even better, you'll...

Big Impact Branding for Small Businesses - SBM Unleashed

Marketing doesn't necessarily take a lot of money, but it does take being smart. Even small businesses can brand themselves or their products. So what is branding? In this session from Christina Kerley, you'll learn the answer to that question, plus six strategies for small business branding....

Pay per Click Marketing - SBM Unleashed

Pay per click (PPC) is a wonderful compliment to organic search engine optimization. But even big organizations sometimes miss basic elements of running an efficient and effective PPC campaign. Christine Churchill covers the essentials you need to know to get started with PPC without breaking the bank....

Social Media Conversations - SBM Unleashed

Social media isn't about marketing, it's about the conversations. Jennifer Laycock's presentation covers practical tactics for engaging your customers in those conversations, and points you to some social sites to consider....

Site Architecture - SBM Unleashed

The foundation of any search marketing campaign is to have a user-friendly and search friendly site. If your site architecture isn't up to snuff, the search engines can't easily index your pages, which means you're basically dead in the water before you start. So what does it take to have a search friendly site? Stoney deGeyter covers the essentials of effective site architecture in this lively session....

Let Your Thank You's Do Double Duty

When a customer orders from you, does your confirmation email just say thank you? Did you know those emails can also help increase sales, get you more blog readers or help you improve your products and services? Here's how to make your thank-you's do double duty....

Bad Advice and Leaky Pipes

Want a sure-fire way to get terrible advice? Ask the right question... to the wrong person....

Your Website Doesn't Need Content

Well, actually, it's just boring, low-value content your site doesn't need. Fresh and unique content is always a good thing. Here are a few tips for creating the kind of content every website can benefit from....

How to Fail at Social Marketing

We've probably all heard the horror stories of people whose articles hit the front page of Digg and their servers crash under the strain of all the traffic this generates for them. Want to ensure this doesn't happen to you? Follow the steps in this handy (tongue in cheek) guide, and I can pretty much guarantee you'll never have the problem of too much web traffic from social media sites....

Unleashed: Viral Marketing Workshop

Considering a viral marketing campaign? Not sure if it can work for you? While there are no guarantees about what will go viral and what won't, Jennifer Laycock had some great hints, questions to ask yourself, and ideas for planning/pitching to give you the best possible chances....

Unleashed: Blogging for Businesss

Mack Collier's presentation on Blogging for Business covered a lot of tips for small businesses thinking of getting started with blogging. It's not just a matter of writing a bunch of posts about your business (in fact, that's not such a good thing to do, as it happens). Read more to find out what you should be doing....

Unleashed: Keywords and Content

Continuing with coverage of the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference, here's Heather Lloyd-Martin's presentation on keywords and content....

Unleashed Session: Social Media Conversations

Bummed because you couldn't make it to the Small Business Marketing Unleashed conference? Fret no more! Here are the highlights from Jennifer Laycock's Social Media Conversations session for your edification and entertainment. Enjoy!...

Should Your Business Start a Blog?

It may seem sometimes all the cool kids have started business blogs. So, can your business benefit from a blog, or is it going to be simply a waste of time?...

Not Just More. Better!

Do you simply want more website traffic, or would you rather have better traffic? Did you know you can make more profit with the same (or even less) traffic? You can -- as long as you know how to get the right visitors and make the best use of the traffic you get....

Why Do The (Good) SEOs Cost So %&*# Much?

If SEO isn't exactly rocket science (and I don't believe it is), then why are people willing to pay so much for site optimization services?...

You Say You Want Some Resolutions

So, here it is almost the end of January. How are y'all doing with your New Year's Resolutions? Still going strong? Or have you found yourself starting to "backslide" just a little bit?...

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

What can you do if your website-kid is getting beat up in the search engines by the online equivalent of a playground bully?...

They're Dead, Jim

Is this the end of the target audience? Well, okay, to be honest... no. The target audience is alive and well. But what can you do to improve website performance further? Check out the concept of personas....

Imitation: it may be sincere, but it isn't always smart

It's true, you can learn a lot about web marketing and merchandising by looking at what the “big boys” do. But it might not be such a good idea to simply imitate everything they do......

Designers versus Clients?

The question has been asked: should customers expect web designers to know about SEO as a matter of course, or should designers presume customers know and will ask about SEO if they're interested? Here's what I think......

All I Need To Know About Link Building I Learned From Dr. Spock

By the way, that's Dr. Spock, the baby expert, not Mr. Spock, the Star Trek Vulcan. See, it occurred to me recently that our websites are often very much like our children. (I know I've sometimes referred to my sites as "my babies".) The issues we face with our children and our "web babies" are often more pretty similar -- and so are the solutions. So what's the best way to deal with an unpopularity problem?

Online? Offline? Integrate!

Does your business market offline as well as online? Do you take your offline marketing campaigns into account when deciding what terms to target for search engine optimization? If not, you might want to think again......

Part Two: White Hats, Black Hats and Thinking Caps

Continuing the discussion of the alleged reputation problem for SEOs. It's not just about what SEOs do. As long as clients insist on handing over their money to unscrupulous or incompetent consultants just because those consultants tell them what they want to hear, they have little room to complain when the results they get are less than satisfactory....

White Hats, Black Hats and Thinking Caps (part one)

There's been talk lately about the supposed "reputation problem" for the SEO industry. So what do you think? Do site optimizers have a bad reputation? If so, where did it come from? And what can be done about it? In Part One, we look at it from the SEOs' perspective....

Is Moving Worth the Hassle?

Are you considering changing your file names, or even registering a whole new domain, in an effort to get "keyword-rich" URLs? Before you migrate to these new web page addresses, let's take a quick look at some of the considerations you should keep in mind before making a move....

Because That's Where the Customers Are

Are you overcomplicating things when it comes to promoting your online business? It's not as hard as you think. In fact, I believe it's really not that different from marketing a brick-and-mortar business. The key is to focus on where your prospective customers can be found....

Don't Waste Time Solving the Wrong Problem

So your web sales are down. What could be the problem? Or is there really a problem at all? I don't know which is worse - wasting time trying to solve the wrong problem, or wasting time trying to solve a non-existent problem. Fortunately, there's a solution at hand, and best of all, it's free!...

How to NOT Win Friends and Influence Journalists

What happens when you take a basically good idea -- the press release -- and get carried away? Even major companies sometimes engage in tactics that backfire. How can you make sure you don't make a similar mistake?...

A Great Source of Fresh Content Ideas for Your Website or Blog

Fresh, timely and informative content is a great way to entice visitors to come back and visit your website time and time again. For me, at least, the hardest part of writing is often simply coming up with the idea. Are you having trouble coming up with ideas for articles to include on your website or blog, too?...

Yahoo's new robots-nocontent attribute

Yahoo! has introduced a new class you can use in your page code to mark sections that are not related to the main content, such as navigation, menus, boilerplate text and/or advertising. Good idea? Bad idea? Something you could/should consider using on your pages? Let's take a closer look!...

It Ain't Just About Traffic

Many site owners seem to focus on increasing traffic to their site as a goal. More traffic is generally a good thing, but it isn't a cure-all. Are you doing everything you can to make the most of the traffic you get now?...

It's What You Say AND How You Say It

Are you and your customers speaking the same language? Here's how your choice of words in your web copy can affect your website's perceived relevance, and (ultimately) your sales....

Are You Building a Business, or Just Chasing the Competition?

Sometimes people take the concept of keeping an eye on the competition to excess. When sound business decisions take a back seat to the thrill of feeling you're beating the competition, it may be time to step back and think about why you're in business in the first place....