Sunday, September 19, 2021

QCPH Golf Outing

QCPH Golf Outing Sponsor

The QCPH Golf Outing took place on Saturday (9/18,2021). We were happy to be able to help support this charity event by sponsoring a hole and by donating some golf balls. The Quad City Parrot Head Club held their annual Golf Outing at Sunrise Golf Course in Bettendorf, Iowa with a shotgun start at 11:00am. All proceeds from this event were donated to Birdies For Charity.
This event was open to the public. You did not need to be a member of the QCPH club to play golf or attend the after-golf party. As usual with this event there was a great party after golf was over with entertainment by Dave Ellis, Rich Fricke, Barry Beranek, Bill VanAtta & Rich Wilcox.
We love supporting great events like this that contribute to charitable causes. Learn more about the Quad City Parrot Head Club.

Original post here: QCPH Golf Outing

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

How To Claim Your Google My Business Page FREE!

How To Claim Your Google My Business Page FREE!

"How To Claim Your Google My Business Page FREE!" A few days ago I told you that, if you are a local business owner or someone who owns a local business, then you need to be claiming your Google My Business page (GMB). It is extremely important to you and your company showing up in the local search results. If you know anything about SEO and local search engines, then you know that local search is essential to your business. Why? Because local search will bring you more customers and more business and more traffic and more leads and more money. If you don’t show up in the local search results, then you won’t get any of that traffic.

How To Claim Your Google My Business Page FREE!

If you haven’t already, then you need to claim your Google My Business page. When you claim your page, you will need to verify your business location. To claim your page, go to Google My Business and get started. It’s easy, and it only takes a few minutes. What do I need to know about claiming my business? To claim your Google My Business page, you will need to request a post card from Google mailed to the address of the business. It must be a physical street address, not a PO box. The post card will have a verification code printed on it. Once you receive the code, login to you GMB account and click on verify, then enter the code from the post card.

After You Verify Your GMB You Need To Optimize It

Now that you have a verified GMB listing it's time to start optimizing it. Here are the areas you need to focus on to maximize the effectiveness of your GMB.

Go to the Info tab and fill out as much as you can for the following items:

  1. Category: Limit to 3
  2. Business Address: Make sure your location is 100% accurate and your map pin is in the correct location
  3. Service Areas
  4. Hours: Hours you are open
  5. Phone
  6. Website: Enter your website address
  7. Appointment Links
  8. Services
  9. Products: Add all of your products and include photos
  10. Business Attributes: things like women-owned, wheelchair accessible, etc.
  11. Description: Use all of the available room to talk about your business
  12. Date Business Opened

Go to the Photos tab and upload photos:

Upload your logo Upload photos of your business, your customers or anything else that pertains to your business.

Go to the Products tab and verify your products:

Make sure the products you added are shown correctly and correct them if not GMB gives you 1000 characters for each product description so try and use as many as possible Make sure your products are linked to the correct page on your website

Google Reviews

You need reviews from your customers. One way to get them is to publish a button on your website that will go to the review page for your business Don't offer any type of compensation for a good review. Google will not be happy and may suspend your GMB if they become aware of your scheme Reply to any reviews you get as soon as possible and write your response tailored to each review. Try not to use the ubiquitous "Thanks for your great review" type of response. You are allowed lots of room and you should take advantage of that to talk about your business and include some keywords.

GMB Website

Did you know GMB includes a complete website you can use for your business? This is an alternate website and compliments your main website. It is a free service and this is a great way to promote your business and show off your work. The website has a simple interface and is easy to navigate. And it is mobile friendly! The GMB website automatically takes all the information from your GMB and creates a website for your business. Anytime you create a GMB post or receive reviews or post photos - your Google My Business website is updated. You are limited to some basic formatting and you can't change the layout but this is a great way to promote your business - and again, it's Free!

GMB Posts

Ideally you should post 5 days a week for the most benefit. Your post should include a photo and be relevant to your business. Make sure you read the Posts content policy in order to make sure your post meets Google's criteria for acceptable posts.


As you can see, by following these simple steps, you can learn How To Claim Your Google My Business Page FREE!. This will give you a place on the web to promote your business where millions of people are searching every day. If you have questions or need help with your GMB, let me know and I'll be happy to help.

Original post here: How To Claim Your Google My Business Page FREE!

Monday, September 6, 2021

Website Protection Tips

My Website Was Hacked | Website Protection | Website Security

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Website Protection - Threats Are Everywhere

What to do about website protection? The news has been reporting huge increases in cyber attacks in the last few weeks. Make no mistake about it, there are people out there actively working to hack your website. You need to be proactive with your website protection strategy.

Small business websites don't have the resources to throw at online security and are particularly vulnerable to hackers. There are steps you can take to protect your website without spending a dime. Since we work primarily with WordPress sites we'll focus on WordPress specific tips.

Install an Anti-Virus Program on your PC

(Not specifically WordPress related) You don't need to pay for a good anti-virus program these days. A Google search for "free antivirus" will turn up quite a few options. We currently use the free version of Avast Mac Security and have good results.


(Not specifically WordPress related) You've heard it many times - don't open email attachments unless you are absolutely certain they are from a trusted source. Even then, be very careful with email attachments. Your trusted sender may have been hacked. One more reason to have a solid anti-virus program in place.

If you receive an email from a trusted source but for any reason you are suspicious of the email, pick up the phone and call them or text them to verify they actually sent the email. Hackers have gotten sophisticated enough to intercept email so if you use email to ask the sender if they actually sent the it, chances are you'll be talking to the hacker. It's getting crazy out there folks - be careful.

If you're sending email via your WordPress website you should utilize one of the many SMTP plugins.

WordPress Login

WordPress is susceptible to brute force attacks from hackers. A brute force attack is simply an attempt to gain access to the website by guessing at a username and password over and over (usually employing some software to run these login attempts unattended).

Brute force attacks are common on WordPress sites. They're easy to mount and just as easy to defend against. First, we need to make sure all of our passwords are strong. By "strong" I mean made up of a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Here are some guidelines for creating strong passwords:

  1. Never use the same password twice.
  2. Use a different password for every site you have a login to. This will slow down a brute force attack considerably.
  3. Use a mix of upper and lower case letters.
  4. Use numbers and special characters where appropriate.
  5. Use a mix of uppercase, lowercase, and mixed-case letters in your password. This will make it more difficult for an attacker to guess your password.
  6. Use a mix of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters in your password.
  7. Two easy ways to help guard against these attacks are to not use the default name for your admin account and to rename your wp-login.php file. You’d be amazed at the number of WordPress websites using the login user name of “admin” – terrible idea as far as website protection goes.

Since you can’t rename users in WordPress you’ll need to create an additional user account with admin privileges and then delete the original admin account.

Renaming your wp-login.php file can easily be done using a plugin like Rename WP-Login.php or Protect Your Admin. The capability to rename your login is also available in iThemes Security plugin.

Keep Your Site Updated

WordPress updates are released frequently for the WordPress core files, themes, and plugins. Make sure you keep your site up to date by applying updates when they become available. Many of these updates contain patches to security vulnerabilities and failing to update could expose your website to security threats.

Remember this when applying updates to your WordPress website. Always install updates in this order: Plugins, Themes, WordPress Core Files.

WordPress Security

There are lots of internet predators out there trying to do bad things with your website. You need some defense to combat these lowlifes. One of the best we've found is Wordfence. We install Wordfence on every site we build. There is a Pro version which costs $99 per year but the free version is excellent and plenty for most Wordpress sites. Install it and use it!

Another WordPress security we really like is iThemes Security. This plugin has lots of options and has been a rock-solid performer for us.

Backup Your Website

Site backups are an important step in your overall website health strategy. Your hosting provider may make periodic backups but you should make the effort to backup your site as well. We use UpdraftPlus and it's another default plugin on the WordPress websites we build.

Use a VPN

The kind of security a VPN provides is on the way from being a luxury to becoming a necessity on the modern internet. While directly hacking a computer using its IP address is difficult today, thanks to the various firewalls employed by service providers, an IP address can still be used as a starting point to access location data that can then be used to dig up further sensitive information. What makes a VPN effective is that it encrypts your internet traffic before it reaches any server outside of your device. We recommend visiting for lots more information on VPNs.

VPNRatings logo

These few steps will go a long way in preventing website headaches and should keep your site running strong.

Having problems with your WordPress website? Get in touch and we'll be happy to help.




Original post here: Website Protection Tips

Saturday, September 4, 2021

The Evolution Of Web Browsers

Evolution of Web Browsers

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Looking for our Web Browser Poll? Scroll down.

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Update: 09/04/2021

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Brave Browser Update

It's been nine months since we last updated our statistics for the Brave browser. Here is the latest. Over a million and a quarter trackers and ads blocked by Brave with almost 25GM and 17 hours saved. Pretty impressive.


Firefox has been getting some rave reviews for their latest version of web browser. I have Firefox installed and have used it off and on since it first came on the market. The developer community is giving it high marks for its' capabilities in working with CSS and other its' developer tools. Firefox has come a long way since the days of Netscape.

Brave Browser Stats

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Update: 12/16/2020

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Brave Browser Update

Over 800,000 trackers & ads blocked. Wow. I'm not sure what I did with those 11 hours of time Brave saved but I'm pretty sure I used it to work on web design projects.

brave browser stats

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Update: 8/9/2020

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Brave Browser Update

Since we began using the Brave Browser we have saved 5.6 hours and had over 400,000 trackers and ads blocked. That's a significant reduction in the usual irritations that go along with browsing the internet.

Brave Browser Stats


We have noticed that Brave seems to be a little more "locked down" than other browsers. Brave kicks up some security errors where other browsers don't. Is that good or bad? I prefer to error on the side of a more secure browsing experience. 

I have Brave installed on my MacBook Pro, iPad, and iPhone. It's become my go-to browser and I have zero issues or problems with it on these devices.

If you haven't taken the Brave browser for a spin yet, it might be time to check it out.

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Update: 2/5/2020

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New Kid on the Block - Brave Browser

There a new browser in the fray. Created way back in 2016, the Brave Browser was updated with new algorithm code and re-released in November of 2019. Brave is FAST, in fact one of the faster web browsers out there. It runs all the extensions the Chrome runs and proudly displays its' stats on any new tab. Here are the stats registered on my install since December 15, 2019.

Brave Browser

As you can see, Brave has saved me over an hour of time.

We like Brave and so far haven't encountered any problems using it.

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The Evolution of Web Browsers - It Started With Mosaic

Mosaic was introduced in 1993 and ushered in the age of the World Wide Web and the web browser evolution. Soon after Mosaic came Netscape's Navigator. Then in 1995, Microsoft introduced their web browser called Internet Explorer and the war was on between Netscape and Microsoft. There was a big advantage for Microsoft because they bundled Internet Explorer with it's popular Windows operating system.

By 2002 Microsoft's Internet Explorer had over 90% of the web browser market. In the late 1990s Netscape launched what would become Mozilla Foundation to develop an open source web browser which evolved into Firefox.

In 2003 Apple poked its' head in the race with their web browser named Safari. Although popular on Apple devices, Safari never caught on with the PC crowd.

Google jumped into the web browser market in 2008 with Chrome. By 2012 Chrome had absorbed market share from the competitors and was the dominant web browser in the market.

Here's a look at web browser market share as of January 2018 for desktop users.
The Evolution of Web Browsers

When web browsers were in their infancy, almost all connections to the world wide web were through dial-up modems. Many of the technologies we take for granted today were just not possible with the slow transfer speeds of the dial-up modem days. Things like game playing, streaming services, YouTube videos and other data-intensive activities were not available. I can remember connecting with a 300 baud modem and waiting hours for a file to download. Today that same size file downloads in the blink of an eye.

As connection and data transfer speeds increase, web browser technology will continue to keep pace and bring us more capabilities than we ever dreamed of.

What web browser are you using? Do you use different browsers depending on the device you're using? Let us know in the comment section below. And don't forget to take our Web Browser poll.

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Participate in our Web Browser poll!

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Original post here: The Evolution Of Web Browsers

Monday, August 30, 2021

Internet Marketing Iowa

Internet Marketing Iowa

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#internetmarketing #iowa

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Internet Marketing Iowa

So does Internet Marketing Iowa work here in the nation's heartland? The good news is that Internet Marketing Iowa is just as effective as it is anywhere else. Whether your business is in Des Moines, Davenport, Mason City on any of the small towns throughout Iowa, Internet marketing can work for you. So Yes - Internet Marketing Iowa works - two thumbs up!

Where Does Your Business Show up in Search Results?

The majority of Website traffic comes from the first page which consists of 10 websites. With all the changes in Internet technology, people are now searching for something and then seeing your website listed as the first result - that's the goal! Do not read this to mean you should spend a lot of money on advertising. That is the last thing you should do. The first thing you should do is make sure your website is about what the person is looking for. Ten sites make up the first page of Google's search results. The first three are paid ads and the remaining seven are the organic results of a search. Guess where you want your website to be? Yep - page one! That's the goal of Internet marketing - to position your website as high as possible in the SERPs.

What Is Internet Marketing Iowa?

Internet marketing is the process of promoting your products and services through a variety of online channels. It's an effective way to reach potential customers who are already looking for what you have to offer, but it can be tough to get started with no experience or knowledge about how things work. Here at Team 218 Web Services, we've got resources that will help you learn about internet marketing so that you can see why this is such an important tool in today's competitive business world.

Organic SEO

We utilize organic SEO techniques to fully optimize a website. Then we blend in some advanced tactics to squeeze the most out of your website's search positioning.

Google My Business (GMB)

GMB goes hand in hand with your Organic SEO efforts. A properly optimized GMB listing is critical to your Internet Marketing success. Did you know GMB provides you with a complete business website that is updated from your GMB? Not only is GMB a great tool but it's Free!

Social Media

Don't overlook social media when it comes to Internet Marketing. Think of it as another way to reach potential customers and interact with them. The more interaction you can facilitate, the more prospective customers feel familiar and trusting towards your business.

You’re Busy Running Your Business. Let us Help You Get Found Online!

Your website will struggle if it doesn't have a strong foundation of organic SEO. How can you tell if your business is strong in the digital world? It's easy to see your search engine rankings. Also... your paid listings... You have back links. The health of your business on the web is dependent on all three of these components. Your website won't reach its' maximum potential if any of these are weak. There is some good news. Even if some of these areas are weak, there is still hope. Because... The problem can be fixed.

Without good digital marketing, you won't know if you're getting found or not. You'll never really know how well your website is doing until you track the effectiveness of your efforts. We can review your site and make sure it's relevant to your customers. We can get your website found by the search engines.  It's a lot easier to do this once your business is in tip-top shape. It's like fixing a car while it's running... versus... trying to get it started in the first place!

Team 218: 23+ Years’ Experience in The Industry

Our team can get started helping you with your Internet Marketing. Contact us today. Our email is and our phone number is (319) 333-0815. We are a small team who cares about our clients and what we are trying to accomplish for them. We work hard and have fun along the way. We will help you reach your goals by getting to know you and your business and what tactics will work best.

Your Customers Search For Products, Services And Businesses

More than 2.4 billion people use the Internet every day? 98% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company online in the last 12 months! Will they find you? If they don't find what they're looking for in the results, they'll probably change the search term they use on the Internet and try again, until they find Websites that have the information they're looking for.  Then what happens you ask - they usually make a purchase.

Basics Of Successful Internet Marketing

You need to know this stuff. I don't care if you're a doctor, an attorney, a preacher, a policeman, a teacher, a soldier, or a simple entrepreneur. All of these things will help you become more successful. Let's begin with the basics. Every successful marketing campaign should have seven basic elements.

A Goal:

What do you want to achieve? Usually this would be increased sales, but it could be anything else that makes sense for your business.

A Position:

Where do you want to be in the market? This is called your "positioning." For example, if you are selling T-shirts, you might position yourself as the place to get "funky" T-shirts. Or, you might position yourself as the place to buy T-shirts at a discount. Or, you might position yourself as the place to buy T-shirts that will last a long time. The possibilities are endless. It's up to you to figure out what will work best for your business.

A Target Market:

Who do you want to sell your products or services to? If you are a dentist, maybe your target market is other dentists. If you are a chiropractor, maybe your target market is other chiropractors. If you are in real estate, maybe your target market is other real estate agents. If you are in the military, maybe your target market is other military personnel. If you are a plumber, maybe your target market is other plumbers. If you are selling T-shirts, maybe your target market is people who like unique things. Maybe they like funny T-shirts. Maybe they like T-shirts that have a special meaning to them. Maybe they like T-shirts that help them make a difference. Who knows?

A clear objective:

What do you want to happen? More sales? More traffic to your website? Leads? Whatever your goal is, be specific and say it out loud so you will be clear in your own mind and so you won't get sidetracked along the way.

A compelling offer:

What is it that you are selling? If you're not sure, ask yourself why someone would buy what you're selling. The answer will usually be obvious. If it isn't obvious, ask yourself again until you arrive at a compelling reason. It could be a bargain, low price. Maybe it's convenience. Perhaps it's a perceived need based on your knowledge of the customer. Whatever the reason, make it as obvious and as compelling as you can.

An understanding of your customer:

Know your customers as well as you know yourself. What is their age? What is their marital status? What is their gender? What is their race? What are they looking for? What do they value? What do they hate? What do they buy sometimes that they really don't want to? What do they not buy even though they want to? Get as much info about your customers as you can.

A focused strategy:

Now that you know your customers, you need to know how to reach them. Do most of them read the newspaper? How do they get their news? Do they watch much TV? What shows do they watch? What time of day do they most often turn on the tube? Where do they live? Are they in the city or the suburbs? What is their education level? What does their household income level  average out to? How do they shop? Do they purchase most of their goods online or in stores? What websites do they visit? What time of day do they most often visit the sites you have identified as important to your marketing campaign? What devices do they use to access the Internet? PC's, Macs, cell phones, PDAs, etc.


Internet marketing is not rocket science. But it does take a little effort and some know-how to make it work. And using the right tools will make all the difference between success and failure. Get in touch if you're interested in learning more about how we might help you.


Original post here: Internet Marketing Iowa

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Website Content

Website Content

How Much Website Content do I Need to Rank in Search Engine Results?

#websitecontent #searchresults Website content consists of text, images, and video. A lot of text-based content can be found on websites that rank well organically. You should have a landing page for every product or service you offer. If you sell real estate, your home page could include a brief description of what you offer, along with a couple of bullet points describing the specific types of houses. If you click on the link, you will be taken to a separate page with more detailed information about that type of house. In this case, you would find out, among other things, how many bedrooms and baths are in the particular home, the square footage, whether or not the home has a pool, the list price, and so forth. A similar approach can be used on your website. Make sure your website contains:
  • Detailed Descriptions Of Your Products Or Services (With Prices!)
  • Pictures Of Your Products Or Services (If Applicable)
  • HOT, CREATIVE HEADLINES FOR YOUR SITE (These appear at the top of every page on your site.)And much, much more... But don't make it too long. People get tired of reading. If they have to click on a link to find out more info about what you are selling them, then they will probably decide to go look for something else. Keep your website simple and to the point. One last thing: You should have at least one product or service on your website that is NOT for sale. This will help to "anchor" your website and give your visitors a place to rest their eyes while they are on your site. It also gives you an opportunity to practice some of the above-mentioned website "muscle memory".
For example, maybe you write a little description of that non-product or service and then throw in a few "eye-catching" tidbits such as "This website is for informational purposes only. No solicitation or advertising will be done through this website." That sort of thing. Just a thought. Okay, we've discussed writing headlines, subheads and descriptions. What's left? Actually, a lot. There are many other things you can do to make your website more effective. Here are just a few: Use bullets. Use graphics. Put your website address in at the top of every page (in blue). Make your pages readable. Use white space. Short paragraphs. Simple English. Use tables sensibly. Don't use them for decoration. That is, unless you are using them to help your visitor understand something that is not easily comprehended in plain English. Use clear, concise language. Don't be cute. If you have to ask yourself if something is easily understood, then it probably isn't. Use bold and italics sparingly. If you must use them, then use them to emphasize words or phrases that are particularly crucial for your reader to understand. DON'T be afraid of white space. Use it intelligently. If you are writing copy for the web, you are probably dealing with a short attention span audience. Be aware of this and use white space intelligently. If you use a table for decoration, your reader won't see the point in reading the rest of the page until he is finished with the table. So don't use it for decoration. Use it to help your reader understand something that is not easily comprehended in plain English. You know, there's an awful lot more you can do to make your website more effective. But, I'm going to stop here. If I keep talking about this stuff, I'll spend all week trying to cover everything. And we haven't even gotten to the important stuff yet. Like writing copy for your website which will bring us right back to... The First Big Headline Of Your Ad! Remember when I said I was going to make a big deal out of this? I did and I don't mean to stop now. Making a big deal out of even the smallest things helps focus your attention and makes it easier for you to remember the details. So anyway, let's review: Writing effective headlines is an important ingredient in the success of any ad or sales pitch. You want your headline to be...
  • Short - two or three lines at most
  • Concise - say what you want to say in fewest words
  • Specific - tell what you are selling
  • Powerful - make your reader act NOW!
  • Relevant - make sure it applies to your reader
  • Clear - be as simple and direct as possible
  • Interesting - don't forget the "eye-catcher" effect
And lastly, don't worry about being clever or sophisticated. You won't get there with these techniques. Being clever or sophisticated will get you nowhere but headaches and confusion. Headaches and confusion are not tools for marketing success. So don't try to be clever or sophisticated. Just keep plugging away until you can come up with a couple good headlines. Then write a short piece of copy that explains those headlines. Next, test this piece of copy to see if it will generate interest. If it does, then you're on your way. If it doesn't, then rewrite it until it does.

How Long Should My Headlines Be?

You should strive for headlines that are 60 characters or less. Studies show that people read headlines very quickly. If you have a headline that is too long, your reader will mentally shorten it to a length that is more comfortable for him. This will usually be around 30-characters. If your headline is too short, your reader will mentally extend it to something he can understand. This will usually be something like "How To Lose Weight Without Starving".

Why Investing in Website Content is a Smart Idea

Website content is a great way to increase the profitability of your website... without changing a word of your current sales pitches. You see, most website profits come from people who visit your website and then buy something. But, did you know website profits can also come from people who just visit your website? Here's how it works: Let's say you are selling a book and you have written a compelling sales pitch for your book. That sales pitch is posted on your website and it gets a lot of views. Then, one day you discover someone has posted a very short (and rather silly) comment on your website. This comment is making the rounds on various websites and, before long, it has been viewed by hundreds or even thousands of people. What happens next is, those people who read that silly comment decide they need your book after all. They go to your website and read your sales pitch. And, because of that silly comment, they are more likely to buy your book. In fact, they are so influenced by that silly comment, they are more likely to buy whatever you are selling... without even having seen your website or your sales pitch.

How Much Website Content do my Customers Need?

When a customer visits your website, he doesn't want to just read about your product or service. No. He wants to be fascinated. He wants to be enthralled. He wants to be riveted to your site. The goal of every website is to capture an audience. But, that audience should be captured through all 5 senses. If your customer can't smell your roses, taste your chocolate chip cookies, feel your velvet touch on his skin, see your pretty pictures or hear your soothing voice, he will simply ignore your site and move on to another. Don't worry about making your site "commercial" or "sales-y". We've evolved past that stage of marketing. We're living in a "greed-filled" society where people are only interested in getting as much as they can get and get it right now.

Who is Your Target Audience?

Your target audience is EVERYONE! Yes, even me. You want to sell to everyone but, there are certain groups you would like to reach out to first because those people are more responsive to your sales pitch. For example, if you are selling information on how to invest money, your initial sales pitch should be made to people who have a lot of money. On the other hand, if your product or service is something which would be of interest to people with less money, you should start with those people. What groups are more likely to buy your product or hire your service? Well, that really depends on what you are selling. If you are selling information, it will probably be people with a college education. If you are selling a book on how to lose weight, you should initially try to sell to women. If you are selling a software package for inventors, you should target men. If you are selling a service to help people with their taxes, you should target high income people. And so on. But, always remember... EVERYONE IS INTERESTED IN SOMETHING!

Website Content Conclusion

If you are creating an online store or if you have an established website, you need to be sure every square inch of the site contains compelling and useful information. Keep it current! Make sure every page has a headline (H1 tag & only one H1 per page), subhead (H2 tag), body copy (between the H2 tags), and, a call to action (CTA). People do not buy from websites. People buy from people. If you want your website to make sales, you must provide extremely high quality personal service via your website. Your website should be a place on the web where people can go to get an immediate sense of who you are, what you stand for and how you can help them. All other elements of a successful website (including sales messages) should be secondary.  

Original post here: Website Content

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