Category - Internet Marketing

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What is Pay Per Click?
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What is Search Engine Optimisation?
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Hiring on Elance: How to get it right

What is Pay Per Click?

ClickSo, you’ve been researching how to build traffic to your website and you’ve come across the term ‘pay per click’, or PPC. Or perhaps you’ve been talking you your website guy and he’s throwing about techie jargon like it’s going out of fashion. PPC, he assures you, is what you need to get your site ‘on Google’ and getting visitors.

So what is pay per click? and what can it do for your business?
In short, it’s about showing adverts on websites and search engines, to promote your site. You bid what you are willing to pay for a person to click on your advert, which is displayed when somebody searches for a specific keyword. Each time somebody sees your advert and wants to know more about what you have to offer, they click on the link in the advert and they are sent to your website. You pay some money each time somebody clicks on your advert, hence the name ‘pay per click’.

Meet Jeremy, A Real World Analogy for PPC

A good analogy for PPC would be paying a guy to stand in the street in front of your bricks and mortar store, holding a billboard advertising your wares. Let’s call this guy Jeremy.
Each time Jeremy gets somebody to come into your shop, you pay him £1.

The great thing about Jeremy is that he’s really meticulous in his record keeping. He keeps detailed logs of the number of people who have walked past his sign each hour, along with how many people proceeded to walk into your shop.

Jeremy is also really flexible. You can tell him just to hold his sign out on weekends, or maybe just in the mornings. He’s happy to change the wording on his sign to see if it brings more people into your shop, and if you pay him a bit more money, he’ll get right out there under people’s noses and make sure they see your sign. All the while, he’s keeping these detailed records for you to analyse and see which combination of factors works best for you.

As you can imagine, Jeremy is a great asset to any business. Now imagine that Jeremy can do ten times more than I’ve listed above, and he’s a robot. That’s PPC. Kind of.

PPC Platforms

There are a number of different PPC platforms on the internet. By platform, I mean a company which provides a service which allows you to log in and create adverts and set the adverts up to display to a range of people. PPC platforms handle all of the logging of data generated when ads are viewed and clicked on and they display reports to you so that you can make informed business decisions. Finally, PPC platforms provide a billing system which allows you to pay for your ads.

Google Adwords

The largest and most prevalent PPC platform, one which you have likely heard of before, is Google Adwords. If you’re just starting out using PPC to market your business, then you will want to start with Adwords.

Not only do Google provide the most advanced platform to make advertising easy, but since so many people use the Google search engine, there will be no shortage of people seeing your ads, and therefore, clicking on them and visiting your website. In case you’re not aware, your adverts will be displayed above and to the right hand site of search results on the google.com or google.co.uk search engines.

Bing Ads

Bing ads is Microsoft’s answer to Google Adwords. Albeit with less features and less traffic.

I would recommend saving Bing ads for when you have a successful campaign running on Google Adwords and you’re looking to expand your marketing presence.

PPC or SEO?

I have been asked many times in the past which to go with. PPC for the instant, targeted traffic, or SEO for it’s longterm ‘free’ source of visitors.

My answer has always been the same. Why go after half of the market when you can have the best of both? Any good online marketing campaign should cover both PPC and organic SEO. PPC provides you with a definitive, refined list of keywords, which you know lead to paying customers. You can use this keyword list to drive an effective long-term organic SEO campaign.

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

You can’t own or be involved with a website without coming across search engine optimisation (SEO) at some point or other.
Every day I receive another email via a contact form on one of my websites offering SEO services from one of many firms in India. So what exactly is SEO?

In order to to help users find what they are looking for, search engines such as Google and Bing must decide what web pages are most relevant to what people are searching for. By applying a good SEO strategy when building and marketing your website, you can do your best to ensure that when people search for information, your web pages appear near the top of the search engine results pages.

SEO can be seperated into categories, on-site SEO and off-site SEO.

On Site SEO

On-site SEO should be a consideration when building your website. If your site is built using a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, then this is pretty much just a case of installing an SEO plugin such as All In One SEO Pack.
When writing content for your website, you would typically perform some keyword research first. Keyword research is a pretty deep subject itself, well beyond the scope of this article. If you want to know more about keyword research, check out Moz’s excellent article here.
Once you’ve decided on a good keyword, this is used throughout the content of the article, as well as in the title, META tags etc.

Off Site SEO

Once you have written and published an article on your website, you will need to start building links to it. Search engines such as Google see external links pointing to your website as votes of confidence. The more links you have, and the more relevant those linking pages are to your page, the more chance you have of your pages ranking will in the search engine results pages.
If you have written good, compelling content, then in theory you shouldn’t need to build links to your website. However in practice, it makes sense to tip the scales in your favour and work hard to achieve some good quality backlinks.

Hiring on Elance: How to get it right

ElanceLike many other internet marketers, I like stuff done right. Nobody else can see inside my head, so I have always been guilty of trying to do everything myself.
Copy writing, accounts, SEO, design, I’ve spent countless hours beavering away, sometimes quite inefficiently building links or designing logos. After a while I realised that I was limited by the amount of hours in a day. It’s simply impossible to grow a business all by yourself. You simply must learn to delegate. You need to outsource.

Around 10 years ago I discovered Elance. There are loads of other freelancer sites, but Elance is the site which I started with and stuck with ever since.

In theory, you post your job on the Elance site, choose from the flurry of proposals from eager workers, then watch as your work magically gets done for you. For a charge, obviously.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always like this. In fact, unless your worker is carefully screened, your project accurately specified and meticulously project managed, you will probably end in a frustrated argument and no decent website or design out of it at the other end.

Here are my helpful hints of how to get projects done on Elance, the right way.

Job Description

Make sure to be as detailed as possible when writing the description of your project.
List all of the tasks you require them to take and what you expect at the end of it.
30 minutes spent here can literally make the difference between finding the right candidates or useless candidates.

Make sure you specify ALL of the required skills. If you’re having a website built and you hire a PHP developer, don’t expect him to know any jQuery, unless you specify it.

Screening Workers

In my experience, projects posted to Elance typically receive around 5-20 proposals.
Use the 1-5 rating system to your advantage to score the workers. Once all are rated, it makes it much easier to pick the best.

Start by going through and hiding all of the proposals which look generic and don’t look right for your needs. Many workers won’t have the relevant skills or experience. Personally, I only accept workers who have a decent amount of earnings and 4+ stars. I also remove workers who don’t provide examples of past work. Often, a lot of designers for example, churn out some awful low quality designs. You have been warned!
You can afford to be picky here. If they aren’t perfect for the job, ditch them.
Instead of rejecting proposals, I normally just hide them. This makes it possible to change your mind later if it doesn’t work out with your chosen worker.
I almost never choose the cheapest bid. If a bid looks too low to be true, it probably is. There are some very low quality workers out there, particularly in eastern countries. If you want something done right, expect to pay a fair price for a decent worker with strong skills and plenty of experience.
If you are hiring from a western country such as the USA or UK, expect to pay a little more. When hiring article writers, I would ONLY hire native English speakers, otherwise you will get low quality content. If possible, get your worker on the phone, just to check all is well. I recently hired a worker from the USA to write articles, only to discover that he was connecting via a US VPN as a proxy server from India! The higher rates for Western countries likely lured this worker to commit fraud. Be aware.

Starting the project

Before work commences, I always upload an NDA and basic contract. You can download templates of these documents from the net and alter them to your requirements. This just gives you an extra bit of protection.
I make it clear to the worker that by accepting the project, they are accepting the requirements in the documents.
Now is a good time to upload a full technical specification. Be as specific as possible about every detail of your project. If it’s not in the spec, you probably won’t see it done.
Detail all of the functionality of the system and it’s different parts.

Project phases

I always break my development projects into milestones, with a percentage paid for each one. This helps you get working code early on and limits your losses greatly if something goes wrong. At each milestone, get the full source code completed so far, this makes it possible for another developer to pick up where they left off.
My final stage is usually “All functionality completed, fully tested and approved by me. Full source code provided and system fully working on production server”

In Summary

Freelance websites are an excellent source of labour from across the world at reasonable rates.
However, don’t expect it to be easy. Using them effectively to get work of a reasonable standard requires you to put some effort in and properly manage your projects.
As with anything, there is a learning curve involved. The best thing is just to jump in, make those mistakes and learn from them. Just don’t lose too much money on those mistakes!

Copyright © 2018. Created by Hayden Kibble.