Knowing Where to Start: Selecting the Perfect Niche

Whenever you are looking to create a new website or start a new business, it’s important to figure out which niche is best for you. You want to not only choose something that is going to be beneficial to you financially but something that is going to be enjoyable. Going to work each day should not be something you dread, it should be something you look forward to. When you are working with the proper niche, it feels as though you aren’t working at all.

Make a List of Your Interests

Before thinking too in-depth about which niche to go with, sit down and create a list of all the things you enjoy in life. Do not worry about whether or not they can be used to create a website and throw all the negative thoughts, such as “that’s impossible” out of your mind. Let your mind flow free and take a look at your list once you have finished. Is there a reoccurring theme? Maybe you like helping others or you enjoy working with children.

Go through your list and circle the items that you are most passionate about. These are going to be your main focus. Later on, you may find a way to incorporate the other options into your site but start with the basics for now.

Use Your Experiences and Skills

Do you have specific skills or experience that is going to help you with your website? If so, be sure to make these known to your followers. This is going to make you more credible to your visitors and give them reason to trust you right off the bat.

If you are going to be taking on a niche that you have not yet been a part of then you are in luck because you are going to be a part of your target audience. As you research and prepare your website, you can take all the information you’re learning along the way and pass it on to your visitors.

Explore Your Options

There are a wide range of websites on the internet and many of them may be directly related to the site you are planning to start up. One way to get a good idea of just how much competition you have out there is to use the Google AdSense Keyword Tool. All you have to do is type in a keyword or phrase and a list of websites that relate will pop up. Information such as the level of competition and number of searches each month will appear. This is also going to give you an idea how many people are interested in your topic. Sometimes a simple tweak to your keyword or key phrase can drastically lower the amount of competition you have. Play around with the keyword tool a bit and you’ll see what we mean.

Know Your Competition

Once you have broken down what you think your main keyword is going to be, it’s time to scope out the competitors. Take a look at various websites on the list and see what kinds of things they have going for them. Take note of the colors they have chosen to use, how their website is organized, if they have a chat room etc. Basically, what you are trying to do is get a general idea as to what works for your target audience. What types of things do you like about these sites? Are there things you think you could do better?

Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from others and use it to make your own creation. The same goes for creating your own ideas that you have never seen before. Sometimes taking a chance can be scary but who knows; you could create something that could change the way people design their websites.

Content is King

Whenever you have a website, content is extremely important. You might have a really useful website but if you are not updating on a regular basis then you are doing yourself and your website a disservice. People who come to your site are going to be turned off if you have not made any changes to your site in – say – over a month. This is why it’s extremely important that you choose a niche that you feel comfortable with and are passionate about. You do not want to get to a point where you feel as though you have run out of things to say.

Take a good look at the niche you are considering and think about it over the long term. Is this something that is going to change? Are you going to feel comfortable with writing about it at least a few times a month? Even if your website isn’t focused on writing, it’s always good to at least have a blog within your site to have something to continually promote.

Alexander Shekaroff is a freelance writer and a web designer. He works for a Toronto based Web Design company. Through his posts he talks about deciding the perfect niche for running a business website smoothly.

Guest Poster
How to Be a Success Online Guaranteed – Being Passionate About Your Website or Blog

If you want to be a success online and make your website or blog into a worldwide hit, then there’s only one secret you need to know and one ‘get rich scheme’ that can work for you – and that is simply to ensure that you are incredibly enthusiastic and excited about your project and feel really passionate about what you do. This is something that will help you in every aspect of your business and has phenomenal power, which we will examine here.

The Site

First of all, if you are passionate about your site, then the website or blog will directly benefit. This is true because it means you will be working much more tirelessly and creating much more content and more design tweaks for your site. If you want your site to be a big hit then it’s crucial you update highly regularly with new content and that you keep doing this for years on end. Now to keep up that kind of work output you need to really care about the content of your site and you need to really have a lot to say about it. This is why you must have a great subject that you really believe in to talk about.

Promotion, Marketing and Networking

At the same time though no blogger is an island, and if you really want your website to thrive then you need to network with the right people, spread work of your site and generally get other people as excited for it as you are. And to do this you once again really need to be excited and enthusiastic for your site because this is something that will be infectious and that will come across when you talk about it. Pitching your website to another site owner who could promote it? Then to be in with any chance of them writing about it you need to be able to convey to them what it is about your project that makes it really stand out and that makes it so great – in other words you need to be truly passionate. Likewise if you want to market your site and get people to visit it, or if you want to create an ad, then you need to know your site and your business inside out and really know its best points and how to sell them. And that means being enthusiastic and really caring about the project once again.


Furthermore if you are really enthusiastic and excited about what you are making then this will mean that you are always thinking about it and that you are living and breathing it – and it’s this kind of total immersion and fascination that will help you to come up with new breakthrough ideas that will help you to propel your site forwards.

In short, if you don’t care about what you’re doing then you really have no business doing it and you are unlikely to be a success. Make sure you are passionate and excited about your site – change the theme if you have to – and you will find that success quickly follows.

Vadim Kirichenko is a webmaster and Google advertising specialist. He has written numerous posts on different aspects of making money online.

Guest Poster
Common SEO Mistakes Made by Newbies

We were all beginners to the world of SEO at one point in our lives and if you are feeling overwhelmed and not sure of the steps you are taking to better your website then you have definitely come to the right place. Today, we are going to discuss a few of the most common mistakes new website owners make when trying to get more website traffic, attention and increase their Search Engine Optimization.

Doing Something Unoriginal

If something has been done before, do not simply jump into creating a site right away. Instead of stealing someone else’s idea, find a way to make it your own. Maybe you can find a niche that is more specific so you can get more traffic to your site. In order to get more true visitors that are going to stick around for the long term, it’s a good idea to select a topic that is going to bring in only interested members.

Do Not Stuff Keywords

While keywords are important, as they help Search Engines and visitors find what they are looking for; you do not need to place them everywhere. Your content should be easy to read and have a flow to it. If all you’re doing is saying “home improvement” (if that is your keyword) every few sentences, the quality of your content is greatly reduced. Search Engines as well as readers pick up when you are trying too hard.

Rushing Through Content

If you want your website to be successful, then you must put the time in. Do not bust out as many articles as fast as you can or you are going to lose quality along the way. Both quantity and quality are important, so make sure you put emphasis on both. Come up with some sort of posting schedule if you need to which allows you time to brainstorm ideas and get new content out to your viewers regularly. This way, they have something to look forward to and a reason to check back.

Not Promoting Enough

Promoting your website is very important. You could have the most amazing content but if no one knows it’s there; you aren’t going to get very far. Social Networking Sites are a great place to start. If you are not using sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest already; begin today. Who doesn’t love a little free promotion?

Do not forget to check in with sites such as Digg and Delicious on a regular basis as well. Promotion never hurt anybody. Whenever you have a new update to your site or a new article has been posted, be sure to mention it on the sites listed above. The more quality links you have going to your site, the better.

Getting Low Quality Back Links

One thing to keep in mind is that you do not want to constantly link to your website. Many people think that the more links you have going to your website, the higher your Search Engine Optimization will be but this is not always the case.

You want your links to be authentic so do not have your friends go to various websites and spam them because all this is going to do is hurt your raking and potentially your reputation. If you play your cards right, people are naturally going to share your website with others and your links will appear on their own. A bit of self-linking here and there is fine but do not overdo it and link from sites that are related to yours and worth linking to.

Putting Too Much Emphasis on Search Engines

While being aware of Search Engines, how they work and what they look for is important, it should not be the only thing you are thinking about. In order to get people to visit your website; you need to think like a human, not a computer. Don’t get caught up in all the rules of Search Engines, because they can change out of the blue. At the end of the day, good content is what is going to get you furthest.

Not Being Present

Having a website is great but if you are not present, then problems can occur. Make sure to check up on your website daily and get rid of any spam. Also, if you have a blog or forum on your site, it is always a good idea to post there. If you go long periods of time without showing your face, this can hurt your reputation.

You want to stand out and come across as a real person to those who are on your website. Find a way to connect on a personal level with your visitors because when they think of you as someone just like them, they are bound to come back time and time again. Having a photo of yourself on your contact page is always a good idea.

Guest Poster
How To Acquire Great References

In the current, unstable economic situation the world is faced with, it has never been so important to get and keep a job. If you are fresh out of college or are looking for work, you hopefully have set up a few interviews and all your bases are covered. Your resume is incredibly important and another aspect that many people overlook is great references. References are very important as these enable your potential employer to get in touch with your previous jobs and evaluate whether you will get the position. In this informative article we look at fundamental ways to get the best recommendations and references from your previous work.

How To Get Great Employment References

Do your job to the best of your ability

This is a fine way to get great references for the jobs you did at your previous work. If you did your job to the best of your ability and were a good employee then your references will be favourable. If you have proved that you have a strong work ethic and character in the past, you will find it that much easier to acquire beneficial recommendations and references for potential opportunities.

Do not overuse references

Do not overuse the current references you have. Try and mix up the references sent out in a CV. This in turn will aid you in not hassling your past references and they will also be fresh and unique. Employers and past professors may lead incredibly busy lives and when called upon for a reference, you do not want it to be the 10th call they have gotten that day.  

Appreciate the references given

As previously stated, past employers and professors are busy and have taken the time out of their schedules to either write a reference letter or speak to someone telephonically. It is a good idea to give thanks for their time. This shows them your appreciation and they will more than likely not be dismissive when called but rather will focus their time on giving you the best possible reference.


An incredibly beneficial aspect to take into consideration when writing your list of references is to remember to vary it up. Have a variety of contacts on your reference sheet, this will provide potential employers a varied evaluation of your skills and dynamic offering. If references are given from just one or two people this may seem one sided and will not provide a holistic view of your offering.   

Jemma Scott is a freelance writer with an interest in business related tips. She has much experience in the business world and in many executive suites.

Guest Poster
Changes Google is Likely to Make Next

When it comes to SEO, keeping ahead of the game and second guessing what Google is going to do next is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success. The difficulty with SEO is that it is based purely on the way that Google operates – and Google is constantly changing the way it does that.

In other words then, what was once a great way to get people to visit your site and increase your visibility can quickly become an obsolete method, or even a damaging one that will actually negatively affect your rankings. This is why it’s so important to make sure that you not only respond to all of Google’s changes, but also try to second guess them and anticipate what is going to be Google’s next move at any given point.

And if you think logically then it’s fairly easy to hazard some probably-accurate guesses as to where Google is likely to head in the near future. Of course Google want to improve their service and to get generally better, so we can expect that over time they will make Google more and more advanced in order to please the end user. At the same time it’s fair to say that Google is going to try to become more intuitive and simple to use, so again the changes are likely to push Google in this direction. If you were coding Google and you had billions of dollars and a team of coding experts… what would you do? Here are some changes we are likely to see.

Greater Integration of Social

This is something we are already seeing with Google Plus, but it’s probably safe to presume that over time social cues are going to play a bigger and bigger role in the way that Google assesses a site. Imagine a world where the more +1s a page gets, the higher it climbs up the rankings. Well this is very likely to happen so if you aren’t already using Google+ then you should get on it now.

Goodbye Keywords, Hello Synonyms

Keywords have been the all important indicator for Google for some time, and Google can use this to look for exact matches between what someone is looking for and the content of a website. However exact matches are easy to spam and they aren’t very intuitive for users. Google has been chatting a lot about ‘semantic’ search recently where they hope to get more of an ‘understanding’ of what people want almost like AI rather than just looking for those matches, which is why synonyms are likely to become more and more important over time.

The End of Bad Spellers

If Google really wants to get rid of spam, then really they should start targeting poor spelling. Of course poor spelling already affects your SEO as it means you have less content that will match the search terms (as Google now corrects misspellings). However I predict this is likely to become even more prominent to the point where Google actually penalizes people for bad grammar etc. Mark my words!


If I had to make one complaint about the current state of Google it’s that half the information it pulls up is irrelevant. Trying to find out recently whether iPhone still didn’t support Flash (I don’t own one) was a nightmare as all the top results I kept getting were from 2010 and prior. If I’ve noticed this then no doubt Google’s technicians have too, so it’s probably not going to be long before they do something about it.

This guest post was written by SEO, link building expert and webmaster Robin Gupta. Robin has written many posts related to Google algorithm changes and SEO predictions.

Guest Poster
5 Ways Small Business Owners Get Social Media Wrong

In the business world, social media can be a great tool to use to promote your products and services. Social media sites can help you build relationships with potential customers, and find ways to generate more sales. At the same time, many small business owners make some common mistakes along the way when using social media. Here are five ways that small business owners get it wrong when using social media.

Not Sticking With It

One of the biggest problems that entrepreneurs have with social media is that they don’t stick with it long enough to make a difference. Many of them get very excited about the possibility of social media when they first learn about it. They sign up for accounts with all of the different providers out there. They start posting several times a day and getting many friends or followers. The problem is that they just get away from it after a short period of time. If you want to be successful with social media promotion, you have to look at it as a long-term process.

Not Listening Enough

One of the problems with traditional forms of marketing is that it is a one-way means of communication. You put out a marketing message and your customers can choose to listen to it. They do not have the option of providing any meaningful feedback or responding to that message directly. With social media, this is not the case. People can communicate with you directly. As an entrepreneur, it is up to you to listen to your customers instead of just sending out messages all the time. It can be tempting to put messages out without taking the time to listen to anyone else, but this is usually a big mistake that will cost you.

Not Being Professional

Another common mistake that business owners make is that they do not conduct themselves in a professional manner on social media sites. They argue with other people on social media sites in a childish way. There’s nothing wrong with having a little bit of personality and interacting with people on social media. However, when you do it in an unprofessional way, it can start to hurt your image.

Too Much Self Promotion

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to promote themselves all the time. No one gets on a social media site to see constant advertisement from entrepreneurs. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself the occasional shout out, but you want to mix those in with other content. Try to provide value to your subscribers instead of just blasting them with marketing messages all the time.

Not Having Realistic Expectations

If you want to be successful with social media, you need to go into the process with realistic expectations. You will not get rich overnight just because you join a few social media sites and start promoting them. It will take time to be successful with this form of marketing. As long as you go into it with the expectation that it will take some time to develop, you’ll be fine.

This guest post was provided on behalf of Town of Ajax – First For Business, your guide for extensive Ontario business resources to help your business thrive in the Durham Region.

Guest Poster
Perfect Your Presentation Skills

If you are making an important presentation at work or school, nerves can be overwhelming. There are special presentation training courses you can go on to help with your skills, but it’s amazing how much you can do on your own, too!

It’s All in the Audience

What is the most important aspect of your presentation?

The Audience!

When writing and preparing your presentation, don’t get carried away with the things you want to say. You are probably very knowledgeable about whatever topic you are presenting on, and have a lot to fit in, but remember you are speaking to an audience, so your main aim is to present your ideas at the right level for them and to keep them interested.

Anything that isn’t completely relevant cut it out!

Anything which might sound a bit too complicated, lose it!

Practice Makes Perfect

This might seem obvious, but it’s incredible how many people still don’t practice their presentations properly before the big day. The best advice I can give is to:

  1. Practice in front of the mirror, to yourself. Do this a few times until you are really familiar with the content and have ironed out any problems that you come across as you go through.
  2. Record yourself and listen back. Are you speaking clearly? Are you speaking slowly enough? Do you sound confident? Hearing yourself in this way can give you key clues as to how you can improve your skills without involving anyone else.
  3. Get a friend or family member to listen to the presentation. Ask them to make a note of places they lose interest, places they don’t understand what you mean, or anywhere it dips. An outsider perspective is really important.

Slides and Props

It is great to integrate a slide show into your presentation. By all means use PowerPoint and add some color and life to your presentation BUT do remember the following to be sure you are successful…

  1. Don’t cram too much information onto each slide. Use a large font, and bullet points so that your audience will realistically have a chance of reading it. Watch your colors too, a cream background and dark text is always a good idea. Some color combinations make text difficult to see.
  2. By all means, use attractive graphs and images. Don’t, though, use unnecessary graphics that are either distracting or irrelevant. You don’t want people to be focusing on a moving graphic instead of listening to what you are saying.

Short and Simple

Split your presentation up into small sections and create a slide for each. Each section should have a central theme and lead smoothly into the next. Keep sentences short too, rambling can lose your audience’s attention. Make your points as concise and simple as possible. As Einstein once said…

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

Calm and Confident

Even if you are feeling really nervous, your audience have no idea of this. When it comes to the presentation, remember all the hard work you have put into practicing.

Stand at the front, make eye contact with your audience and take a couple of breaths before you begin. This will ensure that you have everyone’s attention. Between each slide, also take a couple of breaths, pausing is good, and gives your audience time to digest what you have just said. Have an open stance, don’t fold your arms, and remember to smile.

And there you have it – hopefully your presentation will go smoothly and successfully.

If you have recently gone through a tough presentation, what best helped you to cope with it?

James Duval is an enthusiastic IT specialist, with a history in HR. He is a prolific writer and has a strong interest in business. He currently blogs for Vine House.

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7 Simple Ways To Improve Your Business English Skills

In the world of business, there are many things which affect your performance and success. Good communication and interaction lie at the heart of a successful company and this means that having good business English skills is essential – so how can you achieve this?  Here are 7 simple ways:


1. Know what you want

Knowing what you want to get from your time learning English will help clarify how you expect to get there and can prove a great way of spurring you on when times get a little tough. If you focus on language that is useful to you in your business you will be more motivated and successful.

This process of setting goals should also incorporate a rough idea of how long it will take you to reach your target. Neither your target nor the amount of time you expect it to take should be unrealistic, as this may hamper your progress and lessen your willingness to learn.

2. Don’t just listen – watch!

A good ear for the English language will only get you so far and you’ll need your eyes if you’re going to continue improving your business English skills.

This is due to the way in which non-verbal communication, such as gestures and body movement enhance our everyday understanding of other people. Make sure you study body language to help you along your way.

3. Find someone to talk to

Finding a partner that will help you by spending a little time conversing with you in English each day or each week is a great way of practicing your new skills. Choose someone with an understanding of business terminology and try and involve yourself in the language as much as possible.

4. Sign up for an English course

There is a huge variety of different types of English language courses available for those willing to learn. They range from individual language training, with either a face-to-face tutor or communication over the internet, to group lessons and even online video seminars.

It may take a little time to find the right course for you, but if you explore the options available and speak to those already involved, you are sure to find one which is perfect.

5. Try social media

One of the best ways to learn English is by using social media tools to express your interest in business ideas or other hobbies. A blog allows you to circulate your ideas outside of the workplace in a fun and informative way, while improving your communication skills at the same time.

Twitter is also a great tool for learning business terms as its character limitation ensures you are precise and exact in your correspondence.

6. Enjoy learning vocabulary

Language is a fascinating subject and is especially intriguing when it comes to building a varied vocabulary. Explore the ways you can use different words when you first learn them and only use specific terms if you are confident of their meaning.

Business terminology can often be problematic to learn as many of the terms are similar. This means it will pay you to keep a list of terms and try to memorize a set amount each week until you are familiar with them and their meanings.

7. Immerse yourself!

Lastly, the best way to learn business English is to throw yourself in at the deep end and immerse yourself in the language. This means you should use your new skills and interact with colleagues using the correct terminology as much as possible.

Author | Contributed from Linguarama – Business English Courses, a leading language course provider in the UK, with offices and training centers all across Europe.

Guest Poster
How to Manage Your Online Reputation Across Different Languages

It has never been easier to connect with customers. Whether new or old the Internet allows customers and entrepreneurs to develop an online reputation by talking directly to consumers via social networking sites, blogs and websites. For brands, the development has been revolutionary. Geography, time zones and culture these are no longer an impediment to growth but instead an opportunity to expand and reach more markets.

Manage Online ReputationYet with this opportunity comes an increasing risk. An online reputation can operate in the same way as your profile one to one. If a company or entrepreneur is trusted by their expertise, experience and personable quality they will go far. However, bad customer service or a casual remark that offends or alienates consumers can be damaging. This is as true online as it is offline. The issue becomes more important when talking to a global marketplace. Language, culture, online practice; all these things change from country to country. If engagement is the buzzword that ensures an online reputation is protected in the US, then surely this same practice has to be rolled out across the globe to match expansion?

Talk in a native tongue

English may be the dominant language online but if a business is built in different marketplaces then it is important to employ native copywriters and communicators who can translate content and make it applicable to each different marketplace.

Translation services online, like Yahoo and Babelfish, can in theory be used across each social networking platform and translate each post. Yet the reason social networks, particularly like Twitter, Facebook and Renren work is that they give companies a human angle. Machines, or bots as they are known online, churning out untargeted material make consumers switch off. Personable, chatty updates using slang and colloquialisms – vital if a brand is connecting with a younger market – are more attractive. If an entrepreneur is using social networks to prove their knowledge and expertise they may use jargon or technical language. One mistake and it will undermine a reputation. Using a native speaker removes this risk. Not only utilized for social networks, copywriters can produce blogs topics, news stories or articles that will increase the content on a website boosting a brand’s visibility on search engines and giving consumers more to read.

Where are you talking?

Online ReputationNot every country uses the same social networking sites, so to engage with different users around the world and cast your net, a company or entrepreneur will have to research and investigate the popular networks in their target markets. Twitter is blocked in China for example. Users there prefer Renren, which is similar to Facebook. In India Orkut is as popular as it is in Brazil. Mixi and Gree are used in Japan while in Russia sites like VKontakte and Odnoklassniki have more than 100 million users. Huge audiences and huge potential for interaction.

Researching the right social network is the first step. The next is to investigate best practice and how users interact and share information. In Japan networks users will be more likely to invest in good content. Vkontakte is so high profile in Russia because of its ability to easily share music and video. Firms in Russia often use it for recruitment so for a business wanting to interact with graduates or students this platform is vital. In China social networks are used to share blogs and forum comments. Understanding how consumers interact makes it much easier to join the conversation.

Invest in regular work

Some companies think it is enough to simply update their Twitter or Facebook once every few days. Social networks are built on interaction, and this is true around the globe. Investing in a native speaker who can interact with consumers, answer their questions and requests will develop a more solid online reputation. A calm and measured response works well if dealing with complaints.

Encouraging engagement is an ideal way to build an online reputation. Whether online reviews, polls or the opportunity to add comments these will help customers feel they are part of a brand. Yet to maintain this engagement investment does need to be made on the right person to interact on the same level as customers, ensuring there are no language errors and grammatical faux pas.

Monitor your reputation

The best way to keep a good online reputation is to monitor what people are saying. Either free or with a monthly fee, there are different programmes that can send regular reports of social media comments and mentions, blogs or news stories. It is a useful way of keeping track, responding to comments and questions that might not have been answered or setting the record straight if a comment is made that might damage the brand. Programmes like Radian 6 and Lithium provide regular updates for a fee. For free SocialMention charts keywords in different networks and platforms including blogs, events, news and videos. BlogPulse searches for mentions in blogs while MonitorThis searches 26 search engines. These are particularly vital if working with a global market as some may simply focus on Facebook and Twitter, making it difficult to track what consumers in different countries are saying.

Maintaining an online reputation around the globe is simply a matter of knowing what consumers are saying, and where they are saying it. Using the same communication principles in social networking platforms in the US and Canada of engagement, honesty and personable interaction it becomes increasingly important to understand trends abroad and make sure a native speaker helps a company or entrepreneur talk to new or potential customers in their own tongue.

About the author

Article by Christian Arno, the Managing Director of Lingo24, Inc.. Follow Lingo24, Inc. on Twitter.

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Make More Money from Your Blog with Multivariate Testing

As a designer, understanding how we all problem solve and why our brains are responsive to certain information more than others can be very helpful in the design process. Multivariate testing is crucial in the evolution of your website to attract new leads and convert existing ones. Unlike A/B testing, multivariate tests many aspects of a system at a time to learn of the relative impact of that change. Through utilizing this optimization tool, you can learn the best combination of page elements – things like headlines, product images, and price points – to increase your sales and conversions.

While the aim of your site may vary from others, most business sites strive to generate revenue by selling their products (an e-commerce site), generating sales leads, or providing free information in hopes a sale will come at a later date.

Who Should Use Multivariate Testing?

If your website is already generating plenty of traffic (and hopefully some conversions), multivariate testing may be the perfect option for you. You’ll find the optimum combination of website elements in a shorter span of time and achieve significant improvements in the website’s performance. If you’re not sure about the optimum amount of traffic required to test, there are estimation tools available to help you find out an effective number.