Friday, 31 May 2013

Is Your Website Blocked By Facebook?

Facebook
Has your website been blocked by Facebook? If the answer to this question is yes, then read on.

Time and time again I hear about websites being blocked by Facebook and given the amount of search engine traffic that I receive daily on a previous blog post on this very subject (Has Facebook Blocked Your Website?), it's quite a large majority of people that are being affected.

It's not just Facebook that is blocking websites, Google+ also has a system in place whereby your website or latest blog post will not show up in communities unless it's approved by the moderator. So why does this happen?

Apart from your website or blog being in breach of content policy, I see many website and blog owners spamming the system, even if it's unintentional. What I mean by this is people posting the same link to numerous Facebook groups or Google+ communities (even pages) within a short time span. There was a case the other day where I noticed one blogger who had posted his latest blog post continuously to over 20 Facebook groups and then did the same on Google+. Now that's just asking for trouble and hence the reason for this blog post.

Now let me be clear! Marketing on social media has huge benefits but you must promote responsibly. Posting your website or latest blog post in succession to various groups or communities is not the way to do it. My rule has always been to allow an hour between each post. Yes, it might take longer for you to get the word out about your latest deal, product or blog post for example, but it's far better than risking getting your website blocked.

Another thing you shouldn't do is post to groups or communities that have different interests to what you are promoting. For example, don't go posting a technology blog post on say the latest Smartphone to a Fashion group or community. What will inevitably happen is that the members or the administrator/moderator of that group or community will report/mark it as spam, sending a notification to Facebook or Google+.

Yes, there are cases where some websites have unduly been blocked but there are others which have been blocked for good reason, probably due to the actions as mentioned above. Don't forget that if your website does get blocked, it can take weeks if not months for the block to be removed. Facebook do have an appeal form available if you think your website has mistakenly been blocked, but given the stories that I've heard over the past couple of years in regards to response time (or the lack thereof), it may just take months before the block is removed.

Social media is a powerful marketing platform, so don't take risks! Promote responsibly and you will have far less chance of your website being blocked by the top social media sites.

Has your website been blocked by Facebook? Did you successfully get your website unblocked after submitting a report? Please let me know by using the comments section below.

Related articles and helpful links:
Has Facebook Blocked Your Website?
Facebook Blocked From Adding Content Appeal Form
Google+ User Content and Conduct Policy
Facebook Community Standards


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Until my next post on Monday listing top tools and tips for blogger outreach, have a fabulous weekend!



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Friday, 24 May 2013

How To Protect Your Business' Reputation Online

Business Reputation
Believe it or not, your business could face all kinds of threats in the online arena when it comes to reputation. This is especially true if you fail to recognize warning signs and address them accordingly.

While you're probably aware that customer complaints aired on public forums can damage your reputation, you may not realize that unscrupulous competitors can launch attack campaigns, relying on the anonymity of the internet to come after you without the fear of repercussions. But you can also do harm to yourself by failing to create a positive image to counteract the negative one. So if you're looking to build and maintain a stellar online reputation that will help to bring in traffic and increase sales (the main goals of any business), here are a few protective measures you might want to take in order to ensure your virtual success.

The first thing you should do, if you haven't done so already, is build your online presence. This means more than setting up a website with an online store; you should also engage in outreach efforts that allow you to connect with a wider audience. You might do this by creating an on-site blog and setting up social media profiles. These outlets will not only allow you to interact with consumers on a level that doesn't require them to buy something, in essence offering them added value, but it also helps you to create the type of image that you want to present. As for your website and other platforms, you must use them to your best advantage through integrated efforts and optimization. The best way to ensure that people looking for you encounter a positive image is to create it yourself and take the steps necessary to spread it.

Of course, you can't rest on your laurels once you have built up a good reputation. You need to protect it. It's not enough to create and update your content for optimization purposes (although this is certainly the larger part of protecting your online reputation). You must also be aware of any negative press so that you can catch smear campaigns early and put a stop to them. Even with vigilance, however, you may not have much luck facing down your detractors.

While you can certainly contact administrators to request that libelous information be removed, you won't get much traction if you simply ask them to take down negative commentary. What you can do, of course, is make sure that any customers who contact you directly receive the incredible service that will keep them satisfied. And you can reach out to industry forums and blogs to ask for equal air time to set the record straight. But there's no guarantee you'll get what you ask for, and calling out those who post complaints might backfire anyway.

However, all hope is not lost. When you reach the end of your own ability to combat a negative reputation you might consider online reputation management services. There are many companies out there dedicated to cleaning up negative press and helping to restore the online reputation their client companies deserve. So whether you've made some mistakes along the way or you're competitors have tried to bury you with negative press, these services can help you to turn things around and get back on track with building a good reputation online.


About The Author: Leon Harris is a contributing writer for Reputation.com Reviews, an online reputation management services organization. Harris lives in Southern California, and enjoys eating healthy and exercising with his two Golden Retrievers.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Leon and myself know by leaving us your valued comments.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Related articles:
Your Blogging Reputation Is At Stake
How Your Business Can Cope With Bad Online Reviews
Why A Bad Business Reputation Is Harder To Ditch Than Ever Before
What Is Online PR And How Can It Help Your Business?
Are You Speaking The Right Language With Your Customers


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Until my next post, have an enjoyable and relaxing bank holiday weekend!



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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Green Is The New Black

Green Business
Throughout the past decade, one of the most important new words which has worked its way into our business vocabulary is "green". This term, used to refer to companies and organizations which were socially and environmentally friendly, has become a mainstay in the business world. Even more importantly, it has become a metric by which firms are judged in the social arena.

Social recognition and a sense of moral responsibility are not the only things pushing these companies towards being considered green - in many circumstances this recognition is also associated with fiscal profits. By taking a look at green companies and some of the decisions they make, you will easily be able to see how a few changes can help your business to become more responsible and add to your bottom line at the same time.


Big Companies to Take Notes From

While being green has caught on across firms in all industries of business, it is a mindset that some companies take to heart more so than others. By taking a look at a few of the green leaders in the business world, you can see that being socially responsible can also mean operating a very successful corporation.

  • S.C. Johnson - This business' sustainable roots can be traced back to 1935 when its founder, H.F. Johnson Jr., traveled 15,000 miles to Brazil in order to find a sustainable source of wax Today, S.C. Johnson is constantly trying to reduce the environment impact of chemicals it uses in its products, and its widely considered one of the greenest firms in the industry.

  • Goldman Sachs - While the news has run countless stories about financial giant Goldman Sachs over the previous few years, the company has had solid "green standard" policies in place since 2005. In addition, this investment bank has been funneling billions in recent history towards the development of green technologies.

  • Hewlett-Packard - As one of the largest players in the consumer computing business, Hewlett-Packard understands the impact that our reliance on technology has on the environment. Because of this, the computer giant is an industry leader in pushing for the recycling of used computer parts which often time can contain environmentally harmful chemicals such as mercury.


How Can Your Company Turn Green?

Understanding the importance of developing of a green culture within your organization is the first step in implement a successful green initiative. Here are a few easy ways in which your business can not only aid the environment, but also trim expenses along the way.

  • For non-crucial and internal paperwork, set up printers to print on both sides of the paper. This simple change can cut paper consumption and costs in half.

  • Turning off unused equipment, especially at night, can save over 25% on energy use in some cases.

  • Explore the options that your business has on sourcing materials locally which will cut down on transportation costs and emissions.

  • Consider reducing commuter costs through virtual and shared offices. These services provide all of the features of a traditional office, but allow employees to effectively work from anywhere. Shared offices even have meeting and office space available, for the situations in which telecommuting is not always ideal.

  • Focus on getting green certified through one of the certifying organizations for your industry.

  • Encourage employees to communicate electronically, and reduce the number of unneeded documents which are printed.

  • Taking a look at non-hazardous and environmentally friendly alternatives to toxic chemicals used in your business can be the biggest step many companies take towards becoming green.

  • Ensure consistency with your business practices in order to foster a green culture among your employees.

No matter what steps your business takes towards becoming socially responsibility, the key is to take action. Major changes are rarely ever successfully implemented overnight, and persistence is the key. By conveying the benefits of change throughout your company, employees will embrace the new culture and your firm will be on its way to becoming green.


About The Author: Mike Gardener is a founding partner of The Office Providers, where he assists both small and large companies with their office space needs.

Did you like this article? Please let Mike and myself know by leaving us your valued comments.

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Related articles:
Benjamin Navarro Educates on Best-in-Class Green Jobs


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Until my next post on Friday on how to protect your business reputation online, enjoy the rest of the week!



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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Your Blogging Reputation Is At Stake

Blogging Reputation
It doesn't matter if you blog to put food on the table or if you do it for fun. Either way, you've likely dedicated a lot of time and effort into creating a stellar reputation as a top-notch blogger - a reputation that you need to protect.

If you've mastered the art of blogging, but have no idea how to maintain your glowing image, here are a few tips:

  1. Remember that "more" isn't better

    Don't flood your blog with mediocre content. Your audience wants quality posts, not a barrage of humdrum material. It is better to create awesome content once a week than foist a daily dose of drivel upon your dedicated followers. Nothing kills your blogging reputation faster than crappy content.

  2. Choose guest bloggers with care

    If you allow guest bloggers to post on your site, make sure their material is share-worthy. Cut and paste regurgitations, content that reads like a sedative, and poorly written gobbledygook will make you and your blog look bad - tarnishing your pristine reputation.

  3. Monitor your press

    Bing, Google, and Yahoo your name regularly to see what they are saying about you. If you blog for your company, monitoring search engines should become a regular part of your online business management routine.

    The most popular search engines also offer alerts that will let you know every time there is a new post pertaining to you. Hopefully, these new posts are positive - but if they aren't, you will now be able to respond quickly.

    If you are a guest blogger, make sure that you request e-mail alerts whenever someone makes a comment on your post. WordPress blogs usually have an RSS feed for post comments; you just have to grab that feed and put it into your RSS feed reader. This will enable you to reply to your readers, which lets them know that they are valued. There is nothing more annoying than someone who wants to be heard, but won't hear others. Don't be that person.

  4. Be yourself - unless you are boring

    Choose topics that inspire you. If you hate knitting, don't write about it - unless it's a post about why you hate knitting. It's hard to compose quality work if you really don't care about your topic. And it's doubly hard to write an informative piece about something that you don't understand. Wasting your reader's time with meaningless fluff will hurl your blogging reputation into an irrecoverable nosedive.

    It is equally important that you write in your own voice - unless, of course, that voice is borderline illiterate or lulls your audience into a comatose state. But, if you have chosen to blog, you likely don't suffer from either of those impediments - so be yourself.

  5. Be a "follower"

    Actively follow and support other bloggers that you admire. Not only can you learn a great deal about your craft, but you will also create a valuable network of blogging friends. Encourage other bloggers with comments and "likes" - and they will repay the favor. They may even re-blog your posts, exposing you to an even larger audience. Generous bloggers enjoy much greater success than those who blog in a bubble. And generosity definitely boosts one's blogging reputation.

Your reputation as a blogger is one of your most valuable assets and you need to work to protect it. Creating high quality material, keeping an eye on what others are saying about you, and engaging in a tad bit of "sucking up" will go a long way towards fostering and maintaining a first class blogging image. And sometimes you might have to make a guest blogger cry.


About The Author: Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. Her blogs are her "babies" and she welcomes any advice that will help her protect her "babies" and her blogging reputation.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Kimberley and myself know by leaving us your valued comments.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar below or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

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Until my next post tomorrow, enjoy the rest of your day!



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Friday, 17 May 2013

Twitter vs. Facebook: The Fight Over Instagram One Year On

Instagram
It has now been 12 months since Facebook agreed to purchase photo-sharing social network Instagram for $1 billion (£656 million), more than double its estimated value at the time.

Although the final price - consisting of a mixture of cash and stocks - actually totalled $715 million because of a drop in Facebook shares before the deal was authorised, it still represents a significant investment in a company that analysts remain unsure will ever bring in huge profits.


The first year

At the time of the deal, Instagram had around 30 million users. Over the last 12 months, this has swelled to 100 million active users per month, posting a combined total of more than 40 million photos each day, according to figures published by Time Magazine.

The company has also doubled the amount of staff it employs, with a new business operations director making the move over from Facebook.

However, despite the fact Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom has publicly stated the eventual goal is to ensure the site becomes a sustainable business, it currently earns no money at all. So why was Facebook so keen to make the purchase?


Strategic moves

Prior to the buyout, Instagram was already a seriously popular social network in its own right. The ability to apply filters to standard photos, instantly turning them into works of art appealed greatly to users and the expectation was that the site was set to go from strength to strength in its own right.

Eventually, the likelihood is it would have developed into a direct rival to Facebook. One of the most popular aspects of the site set up by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004 is photo sharing and Instagram users have taken to posting pictures to represent their mood, rather than directly describing it to those they are connected with.

In terms of usage, Instagram is perhaps closer to Twitter than Facebook, as users "follow" each other, rather than request to be friends and, unless you chose to set your profile to private, all other users will be able to see your photos. Perhaps this is why Twitter was also keen to buy the company.


World Wide Web war

According to the New York Times, Twitter bid around $525 billion for Instagram. Clearly, the company chose to accept Facebook's offer, which at the time was worth almost double. Although it seems a considerable sum for an entity that doesn't return profits, Facebook clearly feared the might of a combined Twitter and Instagram social network.

Indeed, since the takeover, the battle between Facebook and Twitter has intensified significantly and in December 2012, Instagram withdrew support for Twitter cards. This means that users who share their photos on the micro-blogging site now do not have them embedded and all that appears is a link to Instagram.

Mr Systrom said this move was taken because "we believe the best experience is for us to link back to where the content lives".

Although this can be construed as a transparent attempt by Instagram - and essentially Facebook - to pull users away from Twitter, it is not unusual for social media sites to act in this way.

Twitter and Facebook both regularly change their policies to limit the strength of third-party apps and while Instagram may currently find itself being used as a pawn in the battle between two social media giants, this could change significantly if it begins to bring in profits for its parent company.


About The Author: Jamie Stevenson is a specialist copywriter who writes for a variety of websites, including a number of family solicitors in London.

Did you like this article? Please let Jamie and myself know by leaving us your valued comments.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

UPDATE: I've just received news that Derek's Home and Business Blog is in the spotlight on Cision UK. As a leading public relations company, Cision UK provides PR and media solutions including software, services and tools to members of the media and communications professionals. Thank you Cision UK! I'm so honoured to have my blog listed in this week's blog spotlights. You can view my blog’s listing at: http://www.cision.com/uk/media-updates/uk-16-may-2013/


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar below or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

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Until my next post on Tuesday on why your blogging reputation could be at stake, have a relaxing weekend!



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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Five Keys To A Successful Web Design And How You Can Achieve It For Free

Web Design
Are you into web designing? Or are you just designing for your clients or as part of your business?

Whichever you are, I know that you've had those situations wherein you are flat-out disappointed with the outcome of your design. I'm sure that at one point, you felt like your new design is going to be legendary but at the end of it all, you found that the totality of the design is mediocre or lousy.

If in case you are wondering how or why your design turned-out to be poor, then this article is what you need.

I'll share with you 5 keys to a successful web design and how to achieve it for free. But even before I do that, I'd very much like it if you'll share your own tips as well. I'm sure that we've had a different experience and you probably have something up your sleeve that some of us are missing. That said, your contribution will be greatly appreciated by the web designers who are trying to better their skills. You can share it in the comment section below.

Here are 5 keys to a successful web design that you shouldn't miss:

  1. Choose the right color combination

    Add too many colors to your design and I assure you that your visitors will find it an eyesore. Some people mistake a dynamic or lively design with having too many vibrant colors. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    If you want your design to look dynamic, you should also make sure that the colors remain cohesive to the theme's overall design.

    As a general rule, most web designers would only go for 3 - 5 different colors to avoid making the site look untidy.


  2. Don't confuse your visitors

    Now when I say don't confuse them, I meant that you actively guide your site's visitors. Your design should somewhat tell the visitors where they should look first and what to do next.

    By adding too many pop-ups, contents, arrows, or blinking images, your visitors get confused on where or what they should do. This is one of the most common reasons for visitors to lose interest in your site.

    This is a major contributor in increasing your site's bounce rate.


  3. Make your page visually stimulating

    There are several things that you can do as a web designer to make the website visually stimulating. One of my personal favorites (and I know a lot of people won't agree) is to use pop-ups.

    Just make sure that your pop-up's content isn't spammy, is of good quality, and has an awesome color!

    Using the right color combination also plays a key role in this.


  4. Give your site's navigation a lot of thought

    Always think as if you're the visitor. If you do that without being biased on how your design is laid-out, you'd pretty much have an idea on how to organize your site's navigation.

    As a general rule, you need to make sure that your navigation "makes sense" in the eyes of the visitors. The contents of your navigation should be plain obvious to them, otherwise they'll get end up getting frustrated.


  5. Don't test your visitor's patience

    Make sure that your site's design does what the visitors think it should do. If your design sends wrong signals to the visitors giving them wrong impressions about what kind of information a tab or a link should contain, you can bet your family jewels that they'd end up really annoyed by it.

    This is especially true if you have links saying "free report/PLR/Plug-in" etc. but when they click it, it isn't free at all. This is really frustrating to the visitors and I strongly suggest that you DO NOT do this. If you intend to giveaway something, make sure that it's a giveaway and they won't have to pay for anything.

As you can see, web designing doesn't always have to be expensive. In-fact, if you base it on the tips noted above, you should be able to come-up with a good web design for free.

If you just focus on the things that your visitors wants or needs, your design will surely be on the right track.

These tips will surely do you wonders if you follow them since they're proven and tested to work. Once again, if you have any tips to share on how to make a successful web design, I urge you to share it in the comments section below. Spread some love to other designers. Share your tips now!


About The Author: Aileen Galsim is a blogger for Showcase Creative, a UK based printing company that provides Custom Presentation Folders, calendars, and other printed presentation products. They can be found at
http://www.showcasecreative.com

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Aileen and myself know by leaving us your valued comments.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).


If you found this or any of my other posts helpful, don't forget to share the posts to your favourite networks using the toolbar below or by using the "+1" and "Share" buttons located at the bottom of each post.

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Until my next post on Friday on Twitter vs Facebook: the fight over Instagram one year on, enjoy the rest of the week!



© 2013. This article is DMCA protected. Republication is prohibited.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Managing Duplicate Content And Usability Issues Of An E-Commerce Website

E-commerce
A consumer's compatibility with an e-commerce website is often a detrimental factor directly converted into the profit achieved by the website and this is exactly the point where the usability of the same comes into the contention. A customer's perspective is the biggest challenge while designing it, the simple reason being that it is their perspective we are trying to appeal to, also keeping in mind that improvisation is a constant process.

A quick reality check of the usability issues of an e-commerce website would be to analyze the demographics and make comparative statistic studies with other relevant websites. If a good look at the statistics suggests a 2-3 percent visitor-to-sale conversion rate, it is good sales otherwise a reformation is on the cards. Another important technical aspect, referred to as the funnel conversion rate is an ordeal in itself. The website is required to suffice the customer with user friendly processes which motivates the consumer to reach the end point of the order that has been started with. The average time frame for which a consumer visits the website is also an important aspect and a study suggests it to be between 3 and 4 minutes and anything beyond that is a disclaimer.


First Look and Speed Matters

Improvisations can always be played well if the right factors are kept in mind. Firstly the speed of the website contributes to the interest of the user which is directly proportional to the load that a server which has been opted for can take which can be optimized with the right usage of storage data space. Satisfying the eye of the consumer with respect to the texts and fonts should also be looked out for, while maintaining a low key in terms of animations, etc. This is very essential because today's population has become very progressive in terms of their outlook and expectations.


Easy and Clear Navigation Should be Mandatory

Steering through or navigation of the website should be an easy play, without which the efficacy is going to be deterred. Smooth navigation is mandatory without which the consumer will lose interest in merely browsing through the site. There should be complete clarity in terms of the conventional options offered for navigation as these obviously prove to be a testament to the user's patience levels. Categorizing the available options and easy retrieving options would be an added advantage. Other preferences like a shopping cart, homepage etc. should be in fact mandatory.

Coming to charges of products listed on the website, "hidden charges" are a big turn off to the consumer which effectively means that charges like handling charges, transportation charges and other similar charges should be accounted for in the start itself. The complete clear picture of the cost of the product can prove to be a trust building strategy on its own. A detailed outline of the entire process beginning from the choices offered to the payment before starting the process would be icing on the cake. Of course, the simpler the process, the better chances of a satisfied consumer. Other factors like avoiding extra registrations, etc. would elevate the user's satisfaction to higher levels.


Customer Feedback is more Vital

Maximum improvisation can be done by direct interaction with customers by virtue of valuable and personalized feedback which will give more perspective to the entire scenario. The customer's feedback which will be a mix of positive and negative points will not only help with customization but also motivate the brand factor in case of positive comments.


Managing Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can cater to being one of the biggest usability issues which if not taken are of can lead to serious consequences like low SEO rankings. However authentic and inescapable often exist which are not penalized as they can be detected by search engines by virtue of meta tags. The major issues which may seem like duplication to Google but is not in reality can make use of these meta tags to escape penalty.

Various examples of the above mentioned issue can be cited. For instance, in cases where the website offers product pages which are similar along various lines, canonical tags can be used on the pages to avoid duplication problems. Identical problems like certain products on multiple pages when a product search is made, can give rise to duplication and the same can be eradicated by pagination tags. Furthermore canonical tags can be made use of during multiple mobile and print versions also.

To conclude, duplication and usability issues might prove to be a major setback during online marketing but if the right management tactics are applied the issues can be solved.


About The Author: Alfred is a tech savvy who loves to write more about digital marketing trends. He writes for Dot Com Infoway, providing excellent Internet Marketing Solutions with the help of well-trained SEM Specialists.

Did you find this article helpful? Please let Alfred and myself know by leaving us your valued comments.

Would you like to guest post on the blog? Please use the Contact tab above to get in touch if you write business-related articles or articles on the topics of Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing/Optimisation (SMO), Blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Related articles:
Marketing Your E-Commerce Business
Incorporating SEO Within The Design Of An E-Commerce Website
A Guide To Setting Up Your Own E-Commerce Business


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