Showing posts with label online marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label online marketing. Show all posts

Website Ranking - Basic Metrics (Elements)

According to statistics by Internet Live Stats, on April 19, 2016, there were over ONE BILLION active websites. Yes, you read that right – over 1,000,000,000.

That’s a lot of noise . . . a lot of competition.

I’ve used the analogy before, about being a speck in the sky, and it’s true. You need to find and use marketing strategies, specifically website optimization strategies, to give your site (or your client’s site) a brighter light. You need to create visibility and ranking.

One method of keeping track of ‘how you’re doing’ in all that noise is using analytic tools, like Google Analytics, SumoMe, Statcounter, and so on.

There are a number of factors these analytic tools look at to calculate their numbers, including daily page views per visitor and daily time on site.

Then there are ‘sites linking in,’ ‘search visits,’ ‘bounce rate, and ‘new visitors’ categories that are also SEO (search engine optimization) basic factors for ranking.

Let’s breakdown these elements:

‘Pageviews per visitor’ are the number of website pages a visitor clicks on while visiting your website. The more pages the better.

An effective way of ‘upping’ the pageviews is to:

•    Use long-tail keywords for title tags and headers
•    Have separate pages for specific
•    Have a ‘freebie’ page
•    Use deep-linking (link to other posts on your site)

‘Daily time on site’ is the amount of time (in minutes and seconds) a visitor stays on a site during one visit. The ‘pageviews’ plays a factor in this. If your content contains links to other pages or posts on your site, then the ‘time on site’ will increase. This is deep linking.

Another strategy to increase the ‘time on site’ is using video or audio. Even short 30-60 second animation keep the visitor in place.

‘Sites linking in’ (inbound links) reflects the number of websites that find your website informative and valuable enough to link to it. 

External links are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source). In layman's terms, if another website links to you, this is considered an external link from their site, but an inbound link to your site.

Your external links are those you create to link to other sites from your website.

Linking can be done through anchor text, which is the best format for site linking, or through a direct URL link. ‘Sites linking in’ is an important SEO factor.

‘Search visits’ are those visits to your site that are a result of online searches, usually for a particular keyword. But, simply getting a search visitor doesn’t do much if he’s gone in less than 5 seconds (considered a bounce).

The ‘bounce rate’ is the percentage of visitors who leave within a few seconds after visiting just one page (the page they originally land on). High bounce rates are usually an indication that your keywords aren’t really relevant to your content. Or, your site may be difficult to navigate or read, or confusing. You want a low bounce rate.

A key factor to keeping your bounce rates low is to deliver on what you promise. Meet your visitors’ expectations. This means having quality content and relevant keywords.
You also need to have a visitor-friendly website design. This means it needs to load quickly, be easy to navigate and easy to read, has an easy to find call-to-action, and is clean (uncluttered).

There is much more involved in search engine algorithms and website analytics, but these elements are some of the basics.

I hope you found this information interesting and helpful.


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SEO and Website Ranking - Inside Website Traffic ‘Visit Lengths’

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a key element in driving website traffic to your site and ranking in the search engines. But, simply getting traffic isn’t enough. Along with getting that traffic, there are other factors that search engines look at when ranking your site. One of those elements is ‘visit lengths.’

According to, visit lengths are considered “the time between when a visitor accesses your first webpage of their visit, and when they access the last.” While this particular measure isn’t 100 percent accurate, it’s pretty close and provides important information about your visitors and what they’re doing.

This information allows you to see “just how much ‘pull’ and ‘interest’ your website is generating for your visitors.”

So, why is this SEO information important?

Put simply, the longer a visitor stays, the better standing you’ll have with the search engines.

If you were to check your statistics, chances are the majority of your site’s traffic stays for less than five seconds. Google and the other search engines take note of this. It can be considered that your website or its content isn’t valuable enough to hold visitors. Your lower rated ‘pull’ and ‘interest,’ will cause a lower website ranking.

As a measuring stick, Statcounter measures ‘visit lengths’ in increments of:

  • Less than 5 seconds
  • From 5 seconds to 30 seconds
  • From 30 seconds to 5 minutes
  • From 5 minutes to 20 minutes
  • From 20 minutes to an hours
  • Longer than an hour

If you can hold a visitor for over 30 seconds you’re doing pretty good. Each increment beyond that demonstrates a rise is your website’s ‘pull’ and ‘interest’ capabilities.

At this point, you may be wondering how you can get traffic to stay on your site beyond 5 minutes, which will give your rankings a boost.

Well, how long does it take you to read one article?

If that article is informative, a visitor will want to know what else of value you have on your site. This leads the visitor further and deeper into your site. She’ll look at older titles and read more articles of interest. I’ve been on sites where I’ve read three or four articles, causing me to go deeper and deeper into those sites.

This is how ‘pull’ and ‘interest’ work. A visitor is pulled in by the informative and interesting content. The easier it is to find additional relevant quality content, the longer you’ll hold that visitor’s attention  . .  and viewing time.

There are two basic and easy ways to hold a visitor’s attention and increase your website ranking:

1. Create embedded links within your content. For example: if you have the word ‘marketing’ in your article, link that word to another article on marketing within your site.

2. At the end of your article include three or four additional article titles and link them directly to the articles.

So, the next time you’re posting an article to your site, take the extra few minutes to include links to other articles within your site. This is a proven method of engaging and holding your visitors, thereby increasing your site’s ranking.

Originally published at:

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Online Marketing - 10 Safety Tips to Protect Your Email Account

By Karen Cioffi

Have you gotten emails from accounts that have been hacked? Has your email account been hacked? Has one of your social media accounts be hacked?

Lately, hacking is everywhere and in everything online.

Today, a lot of business is conducted via email, so it’s essential to do your best to prevent hackers from getting a hold of your account. Or, make it as difficult as possible for them to figure your password out. Below are 10 steps you can take to help avoid this.

10 Safety Tips for Your Email Account

1. Change your password/s regularly. Hackers are clever and use sophisticated programs to figure out your password. Given enough time, they’ll probably get yours.

2. Don’t reuse your passwords. Each time you change your password make the new password unique. This goes for all your accounts and passwords. And, no two accounts should have the same password. Creating unique passwords can become a chore, so if you need, there are free password generating tools available. You can try one that PC Tools offers: 

3. Make sure you have security questions in place and make sure the answers aren’t obvious. If your question is “Who’s faster than a speeding bullet?” Chances are at least one hacker will guess Superman. Or if your question is “Who is Bugs Bunny’s nemesis?” Someone is bound to guess Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam.

4. Make your password at least 10 characters and mix them up – use capital and lower case letters with numbers and symbols. It’s also a good idea to avoid sequences, such as 12345, abcde, 222555222. Make it difficult to hack.

5. Always sign out of your email account when you’re done. Yahoo and Gmail, and most likely all other email providers, allow you to stay logged into your account even after you’re done and left the site. While this is convenient in that you don’t have to log in the next time you want to check your email, it’s not a safe thing to do, so log out when you’re done.

6. See if your email service provider offers a login activity feature. Yahoo and Gmail do. This tool provides recent login activity which allows you to see who has logged into your account. If it’s not you or someone who has login privileges then you need to take immediate action. You need to create a new password.

7. Take care with your mobile device also. It’s a good idea to use a password on your device and it’s also a good idea to lock it.

8. Bulletproof your computer with antivirus software. Okay, this may not make it bullet proof, but it will sure help.

9. Don’t open suspicious emails, especially ones that request personal information or ask you to change a password.

10. Keep your passwords safe.

While these ten tips will help you keep your email account safe, you should use them (the ones applicable) on all your accounts, including your websites. The more difficult you make it for hackers the safer you’ll be.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Use Content Curation as Part of Your Blogging Strategy

By Karen Cioffi

Content curation has been around for a while, but many bloggers don’t realize the advantages or benefits it offers. This strategy allows you to post more often with less work and less time.

This form of marketing comes in various forms throughout the internet. Of those variations there is one common thread: content curation is related to article marketing. You can think of it as one of the strategies under the content marketing umbrella, the same as content aggregation.

If you’re wondering whether content aggregation and content curation are the same, they’re not. A Forbes article by Susan Gunelius explains that the primary difference between the two is that content curation offers “the human element.”

What does this mean?

Well, content aggregation is simply finding and linking to hot topics, trends, and other news or information worthy content from your site. Some sites use all sorts of topics and others use content that is focused on their platform.

Content curation on the other hand offers more. While linking to the information source, those using this strategy add their own spin on the information, or enhance it with personal experience or additional information on the topic.

The information used for content curation is targeted and so is the audience it’s prepared for. As an example, if you have a health site on alternative medicine and alternative health options you would search for and use information/content on that topic or niche. You obviously wouldn’t use sports content on your site. It’s treated as any other niche marketing strategy – it must be focused to your platform or brand.

Content curation offers a broader view and understanding of a particular topic by providing your own input, along with that of the source content.

Now on to the five reasons you should use this blogging strategy.

5 Benefits to Content Curation that will Boost Your Blogging Efforts

1. Simply put and most importantly, it brings your readers more ‘bang’ for their stop at your site. Rather than offering a single view of a topic, or one site’s experience, you offer your reader the world and a broader information experience.

The reader will appreciate having more information to work with and this will motivate him to appreciate and trust you. That’s the beginning of a great relationship.

2. It’s a source of ideas for your blogging. Find current trends, hot topics, and new information in your niche. The content is already there, you simply add your spin on it in a paragraph or two and voila, you have new a new post.

3. It’s a time saver. Using tools like Google Alerts, you can quickly find relevant information to blog about. And, like ‘number two’ above, it’s ready made content you simply add to.

4. It can support or enhance your own blog posts, adding more value. Even if you write effective and engaging articles, the reader will find it helpful if you supplement it with additional information.

5. Linking to quality sites is an effective search engine strategy. When you link to a site that ranks high with Google, you’re noticed. It can help bring more traffic to your site and help convert visitors into subscribers. And, that’s what online marketing is all about, the ‘golden’ list.

Content curation will boost your blogging efforts. You don’t have to use it for every post, but you can switch it up a bit and offer your reader something extra.

So, why not give it a try and add it to your existing content marketing strategies.

To see this strategy in action, check out:

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P.S. If you like this post, please share it!


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Small Business Marketing - Know Your Customer’s Online Behavior

By Karen Cioffi

Part 3 of a 3 part series.

You’ve done your research and created a product or service to sell to others. And, you’ve researched your target market. Everything is in place to attract potential customers to your site.

But, once you get the prospect to your site, then what?

The purpose of bringing visitors to your site is the have them buy what you’re selling – this is called conversion. The ratio of the number of visitors to the number of buyers is your conversion rate.

Knowing your customer’s online behavior will help you enhance your site’s conversion rate.

According to a webinar presented by Marketing Experiments, How to Increase Conversion in 2012, for every action or step you want a visitor to take, it must be worth his time and money – it must be worth the opportunity cost.

In other words, the buyer must feel that choosing your product or service is of greater benefit compared to spending that money and time on another product or service. And, each step in the buying process must equate to a perceived benefit. The perceived value must outweigh the perceived cost, including time and effort.

The webinar offered four factors or key principles to small business marketing that will help guide the potential customer to the desired online behavior:

1. Appeal – Is your product desired enough by the prospect? Have you made your product and promo copy effective and enticing enough?

2. Exclusivity – Can the prospect find your product or service elsewhere online or is your offer unique and exclusive?

3. Credibility – Are your promo copy claims believable enough for the prospect to take action?

4. Clarity – Can the prospect quickly and easily understand what your site and offer is about? And, are the steps needed to purchase what you’re offering easy to follow and minimal? Having an effective heading that conveys the value of the offer, is essential to this element.

These four key principles are necessary to your small business internet marketing strategy – they’re needed to effectively lead a customer through the steps of buying.

Testing and research demonstrate that you must have “an unbroken chain of Yeses” in order to get the conversion. Along with this you must reduce buyer anxiety that usually appears during an involved buying process.

This means you must simplify the buying experience for the customer to allow for a smooth flow that maintains “cognitive momentum.”

Steps you can take to simplify the customer’s buying experience include:

•    Have an effective image on your site – studies show that images increase clicks
•    Have a clean and uncluttered page – clutter causes distraction, which breaks the “yes” chain
•    Make the shopping cart steps as minimal as possible – keep it short and simple

In its simplest form, your 'customer value proposition' needs to answer the question of ‘why should that customer buy from you, rather than from your competitor.’ And, you must convey that answer quickly, simply, and effectively in order to drive desired online behavior.

What strategies do you use to determine your customer's online behavior and how to persuade him to say YES to your call-to-action?

To read Part 1 of this Small Business Marketing series, go to:
Small Business Marketing – Meet Your Customer’s Wants

To read Part 2, go to:
Small Business Marketing – Know What Customers Buy


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 P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter, Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor
Build an Online Platform That Works

For your writing needs: Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services


5 Innovative and Proven Marketing Strategies

By Karen Cioffi

This is an exciting week at Writers on the Move and I get to kick it off. The whole week we’re focusing on marketing innovations and proven strategies to help you write publish, and market your book. We wanted to do something special to thank you for taking the time out of your busy days to read what we write.

Starting off the week, I wanted to give an overview of some 2013 marketing strategies. While researching the topic for my post, I came across some very interesting information. Here are some of the highlights:

5 Innovative and Proven Marketing Strategies

1. Marketing is ever-changing.

This is especially true of inbound marketing. The changes are so fast, that it’s tough to be the first or even get on the wagon of a new strategy before it’s old-hat.

Because of this, it’s wise to stick to the marketing strategies that are working for you. Stay true to what works.

This is not to say you can’t venture out and try new tools and strategies, just be aware that they may not be here tomorrow, or they may not be as effective as the ‘marketer’ is purporting them to be.

2. Innovation doesn’t always mean ‘new.’

In an article at Marketing and Innovation, Yann Gourvennec noted that, “innovation isn’t always about disruption, it is often about making things better.”(1) In other words, it’s not always about creating something new. A revised or renewed product or service can be innovative. It might be in making a product or service better, or adding something to it.

3. Inbound marketing is still one of the top strategies.

In a recent survey conducted by HubSpot and MIT, the results showed that “92 percent of HubSpot’s customers increased traffic.” Seventy-five percent of those customers saw a 75 percent and more traffic increase. (2)

This proves that inbound marketing works effectively.

4. Co-branding can be a profitable marketing strategy.

The source article of this topic dealt with offline business. It gave the example of a local restaurant teaming up with a local movie theater to offer discounted tickets if the customer spent a certain amount on dinner. (3) But, this strategy can be translated into book marketing.

As an example I’ll use my children’s bedtime picture book, Day’s End Lullaby. I could research infant and baby bedroom and bedding stores to see if there is any interest in co-branding. Buy a bed set and get a bedtime story free or for a minimal fee.

The perk to the store is offering something more to its customers, helping to make that personal connection. The benefit to the author (me) would be the store buying the book at a discounted rate.

5. Gaining discoverability through Freebies.

The source article for this topic discussed the innovative marketing strategy that NAL/Penquin used for “You Knew Me When” by Emily Liebert. The publishing house sent “advance galleys with a three-bottle set of nail polish.” The book is about a successful cosmetics executive. This particular author and publisher took it to a new level – the source article is worth the read, see reference #4 below.

Stayed tuned tomorrow for a post by Annie Duguid.



Oh, I did have Part 3 of the three-part series on Small Business Marketing scheduled for today, but because of our special marketing week, I'm moving that post to December 30th.

P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter, Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor

Innovative and Proven Writing and Marketing Strategies WEEK with Writers on the Move

Beginning tomorrow, December 1st, Writers on the Move is featuring a full week of innovative and proven writing and marketing strategies. It will kick off with "5 Innovative and Proven Marketing Strategies" by Karen Cioffi (me :)) and end with "Writing and Book Marketing – Crafting a Pitch (Part 2)" by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

This is the beginning of a writing and marketing information packed December as a thank you to YOU.


And, to further show our appreciation, we have an ebook of Quotes that the WOTM members compiled to inspire and motivate you . It's still in the works, but will be ready sometime mid-December.

So, be sure to stop by often and let us know what you think about the posts. And, please don't forget to share them with the social icons we have at the bottom of each post.

Talk to you soon,

Writing and Marketing – Doing Business Online and Email Privacy

I belong to a number of environmental and health related groups. One of those groups is

Care2 sent an alert about Google’s Gmail and your privacy. It seems Google reads “every word of every single email you send or receive every single day,” including those involving “personal relationships, your health information, your finances, and more.”


Google’s response to a lawsuit against them for this invasion of privacy is that their users have “no legitimate expectation of privacy” in regard to their email.

Again, YIKES!

Interestingly, it’s a federal offense to read another person’s traditional mail. Why isn’t email held up to the same privacy expectations, especially when Google uses the information in our emails to target you with ads.

As part of your online writing and marketing endeavors, it's certain you're using email. And, it almost as certain that your emailing family and possibly health and financial professionals. This email information should be private.

I signed the petition Care2 has in place to tell Google I expect email privacy. If you feel inclined to do the same, the link to the online petition is:

Please take action and share this alert.


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P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelancer/Ghostwriter
Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor
Build an Online Platform That Works

Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services

Marketing with Online Press Releases - eReleases September Special

If you're doing any kind of business online, you most likely regularly or occasionally find the need to write and distribute an online press release. I know I do. But, if you haven't thought about using press releases, let's go over what they're good for:

Online press releases, through distribution services, are an excellent marketing tool to increase your visibility and bring traffic to your site. And, they bring major attention to what you want to promote, such as a new product, a special you’re offering, a workshop, a new or revised book, new services, and so on.

Press releases also broaden your reach. There are tons of subscribers, including businesses and journalists, who look for relevant information they can use. In addition, press releases boost your chances of being picked up and featured on industry websites and even news stations.

If you have something new, or upgraded something, or revised something, or are offering a special, you NEED to get that information in a press release.

Being an affiliate for, an online press release distributor, I get updates on all the specials they have AND they're currently having a September Special, right through the 30th.

Get $25 Off on Any Service from by using Coupon Code: SEP8-Z25.

That’s a really great offer. If you have something to shout about, do it now.

Just CLICK THE LINK BELOW to get started. And, don’t forget to use the Special Coupon Code: SEP8-Z25.

Tell the World about Your Company, Your Services, and Your Products with eReleases! Get $25 Off on Any Service from by using Coupon Code: SEP8-Z25.

P.S. Want more writing and marketing tips and special opportunities? Then subscriber to The Writing World (top right sidebar). You'll get weekly information plus updates on free instructional webinars.

Website Hosting - A Bluehost Back to School Special You Don’t Want to Miss

Everyone who wants to sell a service or product or who simply wants a place to voice their thoughts and opinions needs a website. This includes authors, writers, and marketers.

While websites come from a number of sources, free and paid for, it’s the ones with paid hosting that offers the greatest support and freedom.

I don't usually make a promo post, but I use Bluehost for all my website hosting needs and I appreciate their service so much, I’m an affiliate for them.

Being an affiliate, I learn of new deals and pricing AND from August 19th through August 25th, Bluehost is having a SUPER SPECIAL:

12 months - $5.95/mo
24 months - $4.95/mo
36 months - $3.95/mo (best option)

This is an amazing offer.

So, if you’ve been procrastinating about signing up with a hosting service, or if you’re new to the writing and marketing arena, you should absolutely take advantage of this special pricing.

If you’re not sure what some of the difference are between free hosting and paid hosting, let me explain.

Free hosting comes from services, like and They do provide some useful features, but they are lacking compared to paid services, like Bluehost.

For example, with Blogger you don’t have the ability to optimize your images and you’re limited to 10 pages per site. When it comes to SEO, this is a big deal.

With Weebly, you are only allowed up to six pages per site.

With Bluehost, you can create as many pages as you want on your site. And, there are unlimited domains on ONE account. This means if you sign-up with Bluehost, you can create as many websites (with different domain names) as you like. I currently have about 10 sites.

In addition, free services don’t have support if something goes wrong with your site. Or, if they do, it’s a pain-in-the-neck: difficult to find, difficult to navigate and difficult to get prompt answers. I've just been through this with Blogger.

One of the other BIG differences between the two is Google loves WordPress and most free sites don't support it. This will also affect your SEO efforts.

This folks, is a no-brainer. If you need a website this is the time to get it. If you choose the 36 month plan, you pay only $3.95 per month!


Still not sure?

To make this special offer even better, if you order through me, I’ll add in Create Your Author-Writer Online Platform eCourse Option No.1. You can check it out at: (scroll down to the Options section). It's a $67 value!

Just send me your receipt. I’ll verify it with Bluehost and then send you your bonus ecourse!

SIMPLY CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW (Although it says $6.95, once you click on the image you'll be brought to the $3.95 page)


While you're here, please sign up for The Writing World (top right sidebar).

Create an MP3 Podcast - The NO Frills No Cost Way Using Audacity


TITLE: Create an MP3 Podcast - The NO Frills No Cost Way Using Audacity
DAY: Friday, August 23, 2013
DURATION: 30-60 minutes


Want to get a simple MP3 audio up on your site?

If you don’t already have one, you should. Marketing studies show that people love video and audio.

Using multiple formats to communicate reaches people on various levels. This means your message is hitting a broader target.

I’ve procrastinated for quite a while before getting to it and creating my own MP3s. And, if I can do it, anyone can.

Since I don’t have much time, just like you, I took the NO frills, No fuss way to get a podcast up quick and simple. And, at NO cost.

This webinar will show, in 20 steps, how I create the podcasts I use for my website introductions. It includes uploading the finished MP3 audio into your website’s Library and getting it onto your sidebar or page.

And, again, it’s at NO cost to create!

Invest 45 to 60 minutes of your time to see how easy it is. I’ll be using screen-sharing and creating a podcast while you watch.


Sign up today!

NOTE: All registrants, if not already a subscriber, will be added to The Writing World's email list.

I hope to see you there,

Selling eProducts Through PayPal and Common Courtesy

Okay, this is kind of a rant on a couple of issues.

To start, I sell e-products on my website via PayPal. While this is a convenient and normally great selling method, once in a while there’s a problem.

The Cause of the Problem

PayPal, for whatever reason they deem necessary, makes it very unclear as to how to download your purchase once you’ve bought it.

This in no way is the consumer's fault. PayPal just uses a confusing way to provide the ‘instant’ downloadable link to the product you bought.

Once you pay for the product, you’re brought to a PayPal page that shows this:

“[Name of buyer], you just completed your payment.”
It gives the transaction number and notes that they’ll send you a receipt via email.
Under this you’re given three links:
  • Return to [the seller’s email address]
  • Go to PayPal account overview
  • Add funds from your bank

NO WHERE does it say: Click Here to Get Your Product, or other clear call-to-action.

The buyer must automatically know that one of these three links is the product download button.

Just so you know, it’s the first link – the link to “Return to [the seller’s email address].

How is anyone to know that’s the link to get the purchased product?

Because of this confusing process, I’ve had a couple of people who have filed a dispute against me with PayPal over the years. While they have been quickly resolved, it’s annoying and time consuming for me, the seller, and for the buyer.

Fortunately, I was able to get online and check my email to find the problems. BUT, when super storm Sandy hit, I was without electricity for almost two weeks. And, I couldn't drive anywhere for internet access.

What happens then? What happens if you have a problem with your internet service or electricity? Or, if your computer crashes.

PayPal needs to develop an easier method for buyers to be able to quickly find the download button.

People get upset when they can’t immediately get their purchases!

This leads me to the second rant.

When Purchasing Online, Please Use Common Courtesy

My most recent mishap with a PayPal purchase just happened. I promoted a product related to the content in my newsletter, The Writing World. Happily, subscribers found the product to be helpful and I got a number of purchases.

This is GREAT and I appreciate every sale, but . . .

One buyer, after NOT 'being a mind-reader’ and realizing she needed to click on my email address to get the ebook, filed a dispute with PayPal.

Now, I can understand the frustration in buying a product, even at $7, and wanting it immediately. However, I buy e-products online also and my first course of action if there’s a problem with the download is to contact the seller, not file a dispute or complaint.

To add to this, the people buying were buying from a promo in my newsletter. These are people I send useful writing and marketing information emails to regularly and offer free webinars to.

This is where common courtesy comes into play. The buyer who couldn’t get the product not only filed a dispute with PayPal, but also sent me this email:

 Hello Karen,

As you can see by the receipt below, I paid the $7 for the eBook "Editing Books Like A Pro" , however, I have NOT YET received the instantaneous download as promised. Please send immediately!

Thank you,


I, of course, immediately sent an email apologizing for the inconvenience and attached the ebook.

Then I had to go to my PayPal account and let them know I took care of the matter.

Then, annoyed over the matter, I created a test .49 cent product, uploaded it to PayPal, put it on my site, and bought it through my husband’s account, just to test the buying process.

I have to say it’s sorely lacking.

After that, I wrote this post.

What's to Come

I'm sure I'm not the only PayPal merchant this occasionally happens to. PayPal is making enough money from its merchants; they should make the buying process much easier and clear.

Aside from this MAJOR problem, I'll still use PayPal, at least for the time being


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P.S. While you're here, please sign up for The Writing World (top right sidebar). You'll get weekly writing and marketing information, plus updates on free webinars. And, you'll get "How to Create an Optimized Website."

Karen Cioffi
Award-winning author, freelance/ghostwriter
Author/Writer Online Platform Instructor

Email Marketing - Your Opt-in Landing Page


Landing pages have specific purposes. One might be a sales page and another might be your email opt-in page. Whichever it is, a landing page is a specific page that is intended for a specific purpose and draws targeted traffic. The traffic is drawn to this page to take a particular action . . . to say YES to your offer or opt-in.

One of the most essential landing pages’ is your subscriber or email opt-in page, and it should be designed specifically to garner email addresses.

The reason a separate opt-in page is crucial, as with any landing page, is to eliminate distraction.

While it’s a good idea to have a subscriber opt-in box on your website’s sidebar for stray visitors and those who find your blog through a search for a particular keyword, you need a separate page to lead your targeted traffic in from your ‘outside’ article marketing endeavors. These ‘outside’ strategies include, submitting to article directories, guest posts, and participation in joint ventures. They are the strategies that need a resource box, bio, or tagline that will direct readers to a page designed to let the reader know why she should give you her valuable email address.

It’s on this email opt-in page that you can fully explain the benefits the reader will get if he opts in: relevant information, tips, tools, reviews, news, etc. You also have the space to list the title and description of the ebook you’re offering as an ethical bribe. Or maybe the free ethical bribe is a one-on-one free consultation, or an instructional webinar. This opt-in landing page allows you to fully answer the reader’s WIIFM (what’s in it for me) question.

In addition to the WIIFM information, you can include what you’re qualifications are for offering this particular information, for claiming to be an authority in this niche.

Due to its focus and lack of distractions, your email opt-in landing page allows for a higher conversion rate. This means a higher percentage of visitors will follow your directions and say YES to the action you’re asking them to take.

Just remember that simple always works better in regard to websites and landing pages. You don’t want to make it feel or look busy, or give confusing or complicated steps for the visitor to take action.

To emphasize the ‘simple is better’ strategy, Google’s company philosophy is “Simplicity is powerful.”

While it’s in a writer’s nature to usually write more than is necessary and an individual’s nature to make things more complicated than necessary, follow Google’s lead and keep it simple. Keep your email opt-in page to the essentials, and learn how to write effective copy for it. 

If you're just starting out with your mailing list, you will need an email service and opt-in box. I use Get Response. I love them so much, I'm an affiliate for them. So, if you're in the market for a great email service, get started with them.



Website Creation to Beyond Book Sales

Need help getting your author-writer platform optimized? If the answer is YES then check out this 6 week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing, just CLICK HERE.

Be sure to check out the testimonials!

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Children's Ghostwriter

Founder and Editor in Chief of Writers on the Move

Use Images Carefully - They May be Copyrighted and You Could be Sued

By Karen Cioffi

It’s funny, a couple of months ago I accidentally deleted a lot of my images in GooglePlus. Because of this accident, the images in the blog posts at Writers on the Move were deleted. The grey generic circle took their place.

At the time, I was annoyed with myself and warned everyone to be careful when deleting photos in their Google+ accounts. Using images is an effective way to make our blog posts more engaging. It’s an effective marketing tool.

Well, I recently read two SCARY articles from bloggers, one a PR company, who were sued for using copyrighted images in their blogs without permission. In both cases, it wasn’t done intentionally, but none the less they were sued for a significant amount of money and had to pay.

I don’t copy images off the internet to post on my blogs, at least not that I can remember doing. For years, I’ve used image services like, and buy images when needed. I also use Microsoft Word’s Clipart. And, lately, I’ve been creating my own images, like the one above. I bought the image of the rabbit holding a sign then added the "Be Aware" and background color.

Going back to the articles I read, it was mentioned that even Pinterest could be problematic. Comments mentioned that Pinterest protects itself and if you are caught repinning an image you don’t have the copyright to, you’ll be on your own.

I haven’t read the fine print on the site, so don’t know for sure. It’d be interesting to find out though. I’m thinking of eliminating my boards that could be a problem, like my Around the World and One Day. I love the images on them, but they’re not worth possibly being sued over.

So, should this concern ordinary, run-of-the-mill bloggers?


This isn’t just a scenario heavy-hitter sites need to worry about. It’s something anyone blogging with images needs to be concerned about, unless your 100% sure your images are safe.

I’m including the links to both articles because I think everyone should be warned about this. Ignorance of copyright laws won’t save you. Adding attribution or taking the image down won’t save you. It’s time to rethink image use before it’s too late.

You’ll learn a whole lot more from these articles:

"Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog - My Story"
(Read the comments also for tips on safe images)

"How using Google Images can cost you $8,000"

I love to know what you think of this using images in your posts. And, it'd be great if you share where you get your images from.

Online Marketing - Commenting on Blogs is an Effective Marketing Strategy

Contributed by Karen Cioffi

You may be an author or writer who takes the time to comment on other websites. This is an effective online marketing strategy. It builds bridges to other blogging neighborhoods, it forms connections, and it helps increase your visibility.

But, after using this strategy for a short while, what if you don’t seem to see any difference in the traffic to your site or the comments on your posts?

Should you continue commenting on blogs?

YES, absolutely. Commenting on blogs is still an effective marketing strategy, in fact, even more so than before. Getting a ‘post conversation’ going and sharing content is high on Google’s list of what bloggers and marketers should be doing. Today, it’s all about creating optimized content that readers find valuable enough to share to their social networks.

Knowing the effectiveness of this marketing tool, I try to use it as often as I can. And, recently I left a blog post comment on a high-traffic, high-quality site. When I comment on a site, time allowing, I usually browse the other comments. On this particular blog CommentLuv is used and one of the post comments in particular seemed to be informative, so I clicked on the author’s latest post link. Doing this, it brought me to a site with great content and I actually tried to subscribe to the email post feed. Unfortunately, it seems the feed wasn’t enabled, even though the site owner had the opt-in for it. But, that’s another story.

Commenting on sites that offer the commenter’s last post link  is an excellent way to broaden your reach and easily bring visitors back to your site. Just like I clicked on that commenter’s link, based on an effective post title, the same can happen to you. 

CommentLuv is a commenting system plugin for WordPress. Simply click on ‘Plugins’ in your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Add New,’ search for the plugin, and install and activate it. That’s it.

This is a WordPress plugin; I'm not sure if it can be used on Blogger.  When this post was originally written, it could be. But 10 years later, I couldn't find any information on it.

Hopefully, Blogger will add CommentLuv to its gadgets to make blogging with a blogger site more effective.

In addition to the obvious benefits of commenting, such as broadening your marketing reach and making connections, the activity you create online is picked up by search engines. This includes comments.

Make commenting on blogs an important element of your online marketing strategy.


Keyword Search and Article Marketing – Tips for More Effective Book Marketing
Memes and Themes
Being Social can Bring Extra Promotion

P.S. To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi, Children's Ghostwriter, Rewrite, Coach, and Author Online Platform Instructor



6 Book Marketing Tips that are Sure to Increase Your Visibility

Having yearly, monthly, and weekly marketing goals are crucial to achieving success. With goals, you know where you’re heading and can work toward that end.

Marketing goals can be considered a marketing plan and it will have a number of steps or objectives that must be set in motion and accomplished.

Whether you’re book marketing or trying to sell another product or service, six of the bare basic online marketing strategies to increase you visibility are:

1. Create a presence and platform

Creating an online presence and platform is initiated by creating a website or blog. First though, you’ll need to be sure of your niche because the site name and content should reflect your area of expertise is.

Remember, plan first. Choose a site name that will grow with you. Using an author as an example, if you choose a site name, Picture Books with [Your Name], you’ve limited yourself. What if your next book is for young adults?

As part of your book marketing strategy, you need to create a ‘hub’ site that will act as the center to your offshoot sites, such as the individual sites for each of your books.

Leave room to grow; it’s always advisable to use your name as the site’s name or part of it.

In addition, with today’s gone-in-a-second attention span, it’s a good idea to keep your site simple. Marketing expert Mike Volpe of points out that it’s more important to spend time, and money if necessary, on content rather than a flashy website design; simple works.

Google verifies this ‘simple is better’ strategy and notes that milliseconds count in regard to your page load time. In fact, Google gives a ‘poorer’ score to pages that are slow to load.

Sites that take a few seconds or more to load may also cause you to lose potential subscribers and buyers.

2. Increase visibility

Writing content for your readers/visitors is the way to increase visibility – content is definitely still King. Provide interesting, informative, and/or entertaining content that will prompt the reader to come back and, just as important, to share your post or article.

Also, be sure your content is pertinent to your site, and keep your site and content focused on your platform.

3. Draw traffic to your site

To draw traffic to your site, promote your posts by using social media. You should also do article marketing which will increase your visibility reach.

Another strategy is to offer your readers free gifts, such as an ebook relevant to your niche. This will help to increase your usefulness to the reader and help establish your authority.

This is considered organic marketing; it funnels traffic back to your site with valuable content and free offers.

4. Have effective call-to-actions

Your site must have call-to-action keywords that will motivate readers to visit and click on your links. Keywords to use include:

  • Get your Free gift now for subscribing
  • Subscribe to our Newsletter
  • Free e-book to offer on your own site
  • Buy Now
  • Sign up or Join Now
  • Don’t hesitate, take advantage of our expert services
  • Be sure to Bookmark this site

You get the idea, motivate the reader to want what you’re offering and give him/her a CLEAR and VISIBLE call-to-action. Make it as simple as possible for the visitor to buy what you’re offering.

5. Develop a relationship with your readers

It’s been noted that only 1% of first time visitors will buy a product. Usually, only after developing a relationship through your newsletter, information, and offers will your potential customer or client click on the BUY NOW button or other call-to-action you have in place.

While it will take some time and effort to implement and maintain these strategies, it will be worth it in the long run. Think of it as a long-term investment.

6. Create an ebook for increased visibility and opt-in enticement

This is an effective marketing tool and ebooks can be offered for sale or given away as a gift or 'ethical bribe.' Whichever you will need it for, it's important to get on board the ebook band-wagon.



How Do You Create an Author Online Platform?
4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt-in Email Box

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance Writer/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor

Create and Build Your Author/Writer Online Platform
Karen Cioffi Professional Writing Services


Keyword Search and Article Marketing Content Tips for More Effective Book Marketing

As an author you may not realize the necessity of keywords. You may feel they’re something a marketer or affiliate marketer needs to be aware of. It’s their area of business and their problem to find these mysterious words that help increase the ranking on search engines. But, that’s not really the case, not by a long shot.

Authors and book marketing go hand-in-hand. This area of online marketing is like any other and needs to use the same strategies to be effective.

Today, if you are promoting yourself and/or your book, service, business, or product, you need readers to now several things:

•    Who you are
•    Where you are
•    What you have to offer
•    Why what you’re offering is what they need
•    Why you’re qualified to be offering this product/service

Yes, there are a lot of requirements that need to be met in order to be successful in this ever expanding and competitive internet arena.

One of the basic strategies used to get noticed is writing or providing content – this is considered article marketing. I’m sure you’ve read or heard a hundred times that “content is king.” It is absolutely true. Imagine being a spec in the sky . . . so tiny and far away that you are invisible to the human eye. Well, that’s you in the internet universe.

So, how do you get a flickering light going and build it into a steady strong beam?

Valuable Content and the Keyword Search
The only way to get on the internet radar is to create valuable content, provide it regularly, and make sure it is keyword effective. As I mentioned, content is essential, without it you don’t have a chance. But, even with it, you need to fine tune your ‘must read information’ with a keyword search tool.

Don’t fret though. Finding and using keywords is not difficult to do; the search tools make it easy. Most of it is really common sense, using words you would use to search for your topic.  But, a keyword tool affords a much larger pond to fish from and is search engine specific.

For this article I plugged in the word “keywords” at (a free tool). The number one phrase for this keyword is “keyword research,” number two is “keyword analysis,” and number three is “keyword.” I really didn’t have to do a search to realize the word “keyword” would be there, I didn’t know, however, that “research” would be part of the number one phrase. Knowing the number one keyword phrase provides valuable information; this also means it is a highly competitive keyword.

The Long Tail Keywords

To make your keyword rich content even more effective look for what’s called long tail keywords. These are words that will move you away from the general querying crowd—and the heavy competition.

For example, if your niche is children’s writing your key words would be: writing, children’s writing, and possibly children’s fiction and/or children’s nonfiction.

To elaborate on these keywords - to get more specific and narrow your target audience - you might use: writing for kids, children’s fantasy chapter books, picture books, middle grade fiction books, or kids’ nonfiction magazine articles. You get the idea; you need to focus in on your niche. Instead of aiming at the outer rim of a bull’s eye, go dead center, or at least very close.

To get started in this area of book marketing, try a free keyword search tool from the three listed below:


Email List - 10 Giveaway Freebies to Get Readers to Opt-in
Guest Blogging – Advantages for the Guest Blogger
Your Author Online Platform and Social Networks – Blog Page Views and Twitter Followers

P.S. If you haven't yet, please sign-up for The Writing World newsletter (top right sidebar). 

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor

Create and Build Your Author/Writer Online Platform
6 Week WOW! Women on Writing E-class Starting May 6th


Do You Really Need an Author Website?

The idea of creating an author or freelance writing website may seem overwhelming to many who are new to the writing arena. This may lead to a hesitation in regard to taking the website step.

But, don’t let fear or procrastination get in the way of your online presence. A website is a necessary online marketing element that is at the foundation of your author platform.

Here are a couple of statistics to demonstrate the need for a website if you have any intention of building an author platform:

According to, there are 694,445 Google search queries made and 1,500 blog posts published each minute.

The internet is the place for people to search globally for what they want or need. Having a website allows you to be in on that action.

If you want to create visibility for you and your book or product, a website is the initial spark that will ignite your internet presence. And, it will be the hub or central location where you will let people know who you are and what you have to offer.

To further cement the need for a website, it’s through your website that you will attract readers, get email subscribers, and sell your books and products.

There’s really no way around the fact that you need to create your author platform, and it should be before you are ready to submit your manuscript, according to Chuck Sambuchino, in his book “Create Your Writer Platform.” The reason for this is that now having an author online presence and platform is a factor in whether a publishing house will say YES to your manuscript. And, the first step in creating that author platform is to setup a website.

It’s easy to see that a website is positively, absolutely necessary, and it’s not as difficult as you may think to create one. The first step is planning.

Plan Your Way to a Website

As with any project you undertake, the first course of action should be to plan out your course of action. This is usually considered a business plan or writing plan.

Your website is your online calling card or business card. It needs to be as professional as you can get it and needs to have all the necessary elements of an effective site.

So, if you’re not familiar with websites, one of the first steps in your course of action should be to learn about all the elements needed to create an effective website.

As an example, one of the first elements that you’ll need to work on is the domain name. Choosing a domain name is serious business. It needs to be searchable, convey what the site is about, and relate to you. It should be part of your platform, your brand. And, if at all possible, it should have your keyword in it.

Other elements of an effective website include: optimization, specific pages, posting fresh content regularly, an opt-in, and a freebie.

While a website is an absolute necessity, it also needs to be effective. The saying, “if you build it they will come,” doesn’t cut it in the internet world. Your site needs to attract visitors, be engaging / informative, be reader friendly, and convert. It needs to be planned out and optimized.


There are hundreds of thousands of searches done every day and there are around 2,000 blog posts published every minute. In all that internet noise, how do you get noticed? How do you become someone's search results? How do you create an optimized online platform?

Let me answer your questions and show you how in my next WOW! Women on Writing e-class on creating and building your author/writer online platform.

To keep up with writing and marketing information, along with Free webinars, join us in The Writing World (top right top sidebar).

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor


Your Website Images - Be Careful What You Delete

If you're like me, you upload images as needed for your posts, like the one to the left here.

Once uploaded, those images sit in your Blogger Images File. If you use WordPress, it's the same thing - you upload the images and they're saved in your Media File.

This is all great. You have the images saved on site to be used again if needed, as part of your online marketing strategy.

BUT . . .

Yesterday, I decided to tweak my Google+ account. I edited my work information, changed the header (more on that below) and I deleted some of the albums cluttering up the Photos File.

This would seem like a good thing, right?

Not so much.

What happens is, as you upload images to your Blogger site they're saved in your Google+ account in Photos. Google creates a name for the album it creates of your site's images.

This is where haste makes waste comes a knockin' on the door. I knew some of the albums were connected to my Blogger sites, but it wasn't a thought in my head, as I deleted the album for this site.

SO . . .

The BAD thing that happens when you delete images or an entire album related to your Blogger site is those images are no longer available for your site. Where you added an image (that you just deleted) to a post a year ago or yesterday, it's no longer there. It's GONE.

The images you thoughtfully added to your posts from your Blogger Images File are GONE. In their place are grey circles.


Now, when you see a post with a grey circle in place of an image, you'll know why.

The Google+ Header

Google+ now has a bigger header and I created three different headers for my account. The dimensions specified are 480X270 and I made them to the correct size. I uploaded the first one and it appeared blurry, so I created a completely new one, uploaded that one, and it too was blurry. I repeated the process with a new third header and sure enough it was also too blurry to use.

Since this didn't work out I had to use one of Google's header designs and I'm not thrilled about it. A header should be site/genre relevant. While the image is beautiful, it has nothing to do with my work. I also don't like the new bigger header - it just takes up way too much website real estate space.

Here's what it looks like now:

I guess I'll ask the woman I use at Fiverr to create a header for me to see if her's will work correctly.

Happy marketing,

Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Freelance/Ghostwriter
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor

Create and Build Your Author/Writer Online Platform

P.S. PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR THE WRITERS WORLD newsletter (top right sidebar).

P.S.2 If we're not already connected on GooglePlus, please add me to your circles - I'll add you to mine:


4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt in Email Box

You’re an author. You have a book published or self-published, or you’re in the process of writing a book or ebook.

If this is the case, you no doubt have a website set up. If not, you’ll need to get one up as soon as possible.

With a website in place, you’ll want to promote what you have to offer by bringing traffic to the site. You can do this through article marketing.

So, far so good.

But, what do you do with the visitors who come to your site? Will a one-time visitor buy what you’re offering?

First time visitors most likely will not buy what you’re offering, so you need to grab that visitor to be sure she returns and so you can develop a relationship with her.

To grab a visitor, you need to get that visitor’s email address, with permission of course. Having the email address allows you to send weekly (or more often) newsletters or information emails. To get an email address onto your subscriber list, you will need a subscriber opt in box.

Well, let me backtrack a moment. First, you need to have an email service, such as iContact or Aweber. The email service you choose will have the tools for you to create a subscriber list and opt in box.

Okay, so now you have a website and you have the code to an opt in box that will go on your site. You’re right on track.

Now the question is: where do you put the opt in box?

4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt in Emzil Box

1. Research shows that opt ins must be readily visible upon landing on the page and should be located on the upper right-hand side of the page.

2. Some studies also show that an orange colored opt-in box coverts better than other colors. I’m not sure about that though. But, you can easily test it out by changing the color of your opt in. If you’re not afraid to tweak the HTML code to your opt in, go into it and change the code for the background color.

You can check out the two sites below to get an idea of what color codes are and what’s available:

You might also do an online search for “color codes.”

3. Let the visitor know his email address is secure. Make sure you have wording, either below your opt in box or adjacent to it, that assures the visitor his email address is safe and secure.

4. Along with having your opt in on your website, for higher conversion you should create a separate opt in landing page.

There you have it: Four simple tips to create a more effective email address list opt in box. 

If you'd like even more email marketing tips that will show you exactly how to create and build your subscriber list, check out:



Karen Cioffi
Award-Winning Author, Children's Ghostwriter, Rewriter, Coach
Author-Writer Online Platform Instructor



Email List - 10 Giveaway Freebies to Get Readers to Opt-in
What is an Author Platform and How Do You Create It?
Kindle Select – What Works and What Doesn’t

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