Where Will You Stake Claim to Your Piece of Online Real Estate?

When it comes to starting your work at home business, few things are more intimidating than creating your very own website -
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especially if you don’t know your way around the technical side of things. While there are many terrific options out there for new or inexperienced business owners, getting started can have some hassles.

There are a few steps you can take to make your cyber home comfortable and cozy. Start by purchasing your very own web domain. With so many websites offering “free” domain names, this may sound silly to spend money on. 

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But many of these sites are really just giving you a subdomain – for example: Not only is that difficult to remember for consumers, but if your customers mistype your site address, they could land on a site that’s offensive or contains a virus costing you valuable clients.

Buying your own domain name immediately gives your site credibility in the eyes of web visitors. While you’re at it, avoid free hosting. When you use free hosting (examples:,,, etc.) your site is bound by another company’s terms of service.

Let’s say you’re running a health and beauty business and your website is being freely hosted. Now let’s say this free host provider suddenly has an influx of spammers taking over the health and beauty category.

Suddenly, your top notch website is mistakenly labeled spam and you log on one day to find it’s disappeared – deleted without warning. Your existing customers don’t know where to find you online and you’re losing out on potential customers and sales.

If you can afford it, pay for hosting. You’ll rest easy at night knowing you won’t wake up tomorrow to find the website you worked so diligently on suddenly deleted. While you should be paying for hosting, you shouldn’t have to go broke paying for it.

Expect to pay between four and ten dollars per month for hosting. If you pay more than that, then you’re overpaying. If you pay less than that, then read the fine print very carefully.

Once you have a domain and hosting, how can you build a professional looking site with correct search engine optimization that attracts thousands of visitors each day? While you can certainly pay a web designer for a fancy site with all the bells and whistles, you don’t have to. Most hosting plans let you install the Wordpress themes and they really 'are' designed for the 'Less Techy' amongst us to produce an excellent website.

The ONE lesson you really DO need to take from this post is; 'Back-Up .... Back-Up .... Back-Up'. Your host will usually do this for you with just a click of your mouse. But if not, you could really come un-stuck.
 (I lost over 30 sites recently because I didn't do that simple weekly task :-(

You can research free open source software for building your very own website. These software packs even include professional templates for you to use. Some suggested open source software is WordPress, Joomla and others. All are great options to use for your website.  And if you get a host that has Cpanel, then installing your new software will be a breeze!

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Targetting Trendy Topics for the Next Year

When you’ve chosen a niche for your business, you have to know what’s new in the field that you’re in. It’s important that you stay on top of all of the cutting edge information.

If you don’t, then the details that you have will be out of date and your audience will consider your content useless. They’ll move on and spend their time and money with your competition.

There are some ways that you can keep up with the trendy topics so that you never fall behind the times. Learning how to research and be aware is an important part of your business success.

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Watch Magazine Covers for Top Tips

Trying to come up with topics that keep your content fresh and help make your niche as good as it was intended to be can be tough. But one tip you won’t want to overlook is one that’s right under your nose.

You see these every time you go to the grocery store or the pharmacy and probably never realized what a gold mine it was. Magazines are what you want to pay close attention to in order to find tips for your niche.

If you’ve ever paid attention to the covers of magazines, you’ll notice that they’re full of attention grabbing headlines for the articles. These headlines are designed to hook the reader and make them feel like that must buy that magazine in order to gain access to the information in it.

One of the best fields where you’re always going to find what’s trendy is on the cover of women’s magazines. The editors of these magazines know that yesterday’s topics just won’t keep the readers returning.

They have no choice but to stay on the cutting edge of what’s hot in the world at that moment. They can’t afford to fall behind the current information or the readers will seek out other magazines.

So take the time to read over the cover of magazines, especially the women’s magazines like Woman’s World Weekly. The topics they cover are wide-ranging, interesting and can fit almost any niche that you might have.

You’ll always see articles on dieting because this is an evergreen topic. These articles will cover a variety of points about low carb eating, cutting out certain ingredients, or just learning about portion control.

You might see one headline that talks about how to get started changing your diet for health reasons like inflammation, or diet topics related to finances, such as how to eat low carb on a budget.

You might see another headline for an article on low carb eating that will focus on the audience like beginners or the over 40 crowd. Another one might offer a list of the top foods to eat on a low carb diet or to stave off the aging process.

Still others will offer a menu plan for a week or a month. Some will share how to shop when you’re dieting. Or how to handle dieting around the holidays. You’ll also notice that women’s magazines cover things like stress relief.

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This is a huge niche and the topics that you can cover in it are almost unending. There will be articles written about how to deal with stress in romantic relationships. You’ll see ones that talk about how you can lower stress when you’re with your kids or when you’re visiting extended family members.

Some of the articles will cover stress in the workplace and how to deal with the pressure of the job or the coworker that gets your blood pressure soaring upward. The topics might also cover stress and how it affects your body physically, which you can use to spin topics for your niche in yet another direction.

The magazine headlines might talk about combating stress by using a method such as exercise. Or it will point out the benefits of meditation on stress. You’ll notice that these articles always bring awareness about a problem but then turn around and offer the solution.

Some examples of headlines you’ll see can be examples such as stress in children, stress in teens, and stress in the elderly. You’ll see articles like what not to do when you’re stressed that cover ideas like not making a significant life change when you’re stressed.

You’ll see checklists that will cover the signs of stress. Many common niches you can think of have been covered on the front of a magazine. So if you’re scratching your head wondering how to keep up with what’s new, just look at those.

Obviously, you can’t stand in the grocery store and make notes of the topics that you see on the front covers of the magazines. Not only that, but you don’t want to buy an armful of magazines every time you’re looking for the trendy or hot topics.

That would be a quick way to break your budget. You can find these magazines online. Many of them will offer you a free downloadable copy of the magazine if you do a web browser search.

You can also go to the magazine’s main website and just read the front cover. For example, if you search for Woman’s World Weekly, the front cover of the magazine pulls right up and you can see headlines that cover the beauty niche.

There are headlines talking about how to make your skin look softer and younger.

Other headlines cover the weight loss niche, how to combat hair loss, or how to find relief from pain.

Prevention Magazine is another good one to look up online. They have a huge supply of ideas for your niche. Recently, they covered weight loss, menopause, foods, nutrition, beauty, skin care, emotional health, diseases, makeup, eating disorders, foot care and hormone replacement.

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Listening in on Niche Forum Chatter

If you’re not part of a niche forum, you really should be. Being part of a forum community can be helpful to you when it comes to finding out what topics are currently trending.

What forums do is they let you discover what potential customers are going to be looking for. It’s an inside look at where the future is heading. You’ll get a jump start on what their product or information needs will be.

This will help you fine tune what you’re promoting or selling to your audience. Plus, you’ll also see what’s popular and you can use that information to bring in traffic to your site.

These forums will have numerous threads where you can glean information and most of them are extremely helpful toward entrepreneurs who are new in the field. You can learn a lot simply by reading what’s on the forum and you’ll often discover that someone else has asked questions that you need answers to as well.

When you need to be in the know about whatever is new that’s going on in niche marketing, you can check out the current posts. You’ll see that people there will start conversations about a topic long before it hits mainstream search engines.

Look specifically for the threads that start with things like, “Has anyone heard of…” and those threads will talk about a particular product or a new research fact that will tie in to your niche.

You’ll also see other topics where multiple forum users are talking. When you notice these threads, that’s a clue. It means that interest is starting to peak about that topic. You want to pay attention and get in on the latest news to use it for your business before it hits mainstream and then everyone is talking about it.

Pay attention to a flurry of comments and questions when you see topics you don’t recognize. For example, right before the hCG diet became popular, there were questions on the forum about it.

These questions came across as “hCG users anyone?” And just by reading the comments and questions, you would be able to learn enough information to know what it was and be able to gauge the current level of interest.

You could then use that to start promotion of an hCG product or create an information report about it. You’ll also see people posting thing in the forums such as “does anyone know…” and that tells you they haven’t found a credible leader online for that topic.

If you don’t know of any forums pertaining to your niche, all you have to do is Google what your interest is followed by the word forum or forums and you’ll get a long list that you can check out. 

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Set Up Google Alerts for Breaking News You Can Capitalize On

You can’t capitalize on information that you don’t know anything about. You have to have the most up to date information in order to be able to compete well in your niche. Obviously, if you were to spend time every day searching, it would take up too much of your day.

Time that you need to spend on your business is precious. Plus, when something is a trending topic, by the time you get around to searching, that topic might be several hours or a day old, which puts you behind window of opportunity.

You’ll want to set up Google Alerts so that you can stay on top of what’s going on in the field that you want to know about. What you do is you go to Google Alerts and a search area will be at the top.

You input whatever search words you want to get results about. For example, if you wanted information about weight loss, you would type that in there. It basically works just like the regular Google search engine.

After you put in the search words, you’ll have options where you can choose how you want it and where you want this information to come from. There will be a box asking you how often you want to receive these alerts.

It’s important that you check “as-it-happens” because that’s trending. Getting the information once a day will put you behind the curve. Then make sure you check automatic.

You’ll get to select the language that you want as well as the region. You’ll be offered a choice between “only the best results” or “all results” so be sure and check all results. You want to filter the information yourself as to whether or not it’s useful.

When you set this up, it allows you to be the first marketer to whip up a short report, even a $7 one, and get it in front an audience hungry for the information. If you’re first to bring the information to the audience when there’s not much information out there about the topic, you’ll outsell your competitors because you had what the audience wanted all ready to go.

Going Against the Grain

There are always new trends cropping up. Some of these trends take off so fast and suddenly, everyone’s on-board. The world is always looking for new answers to the same problems and always seeking more information to help their lives run more smoothly.

So new trends are going to appear in every single niche. You’ll have brand new weight loss pills, new diets to try, products that clear skin, medication that treats a variety of illnesses and so on.

Since you want to be ahead of the competition, you’ll want to jump on that trending news and give it to your audience. But, you don’t want to assume that everything is going to be wonderful.

Just as there will thousands who embrace this new trend, there will those who speak out against it. This kind of backlash always happens. As a marketer, you need to be prepared ahead of time for this to happen.

There’s nothing worse than having people speak out against something you’re promoting and to be unprepared. It will make you look like you haven’t done your homework and don’t care about anything other than the money.

So what you have to do is have a plan so that you can go against the grain. You need to be prepared with a product or information that swings the other direction from whatever is trending.

If there’s a huge pro-hCG diet trend, then you can bet there will be a diet that comes out that talks about how bad the hCG diet is. What you want to do is if you see a product that’s trending and you suspect there will be a backlash, is have a product or information set to promote that guides people toward an alternative solution.

This way, you’re still capitalizing on the popularity of the product receiving the backlash. But if it’s something that you believe in and it’s a great moneymaker, you might not want to go the opposite direction.

If that’s the case, then you need to be up on the latest research about the product. You need to have as many facts lined up as you can so that you can defend the reason behind your support of the product.

For every researcher or scientific expert who debunks a trend, there are others who will defend it. You can use that research or those facts to help bolster your reason for supporting the product. 

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Activate These Customer Engagement Tips

When you have customer engagement, you’ll grow your business with social proof, but more than that, you’ll be able to design your business in a way so that it caters to the needs of your audience.

It used to be that you could engage your audience by sending out an email, but that’s all changed. Customers aren’t interested in a one sided relationship anymore.

You can’t just have an online presence. You have to be interactive. You need to engage - and if you think this something that only small businesses do, you’d be mistaken.

Big businesses have learned that social proof matters and they’re engaging with their fans. It’s especially important if you’re a solo entrepreneur who doesn’t have the same branding as a big company does on a global scale.

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Where to Engage Your Audience;

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage with your audience online. Depending on the social media platform that you’re using, how that engagement takes place might differ.

If you’re using Facebook, then you need to have a variety of posts. One mistake that entrepreneurs make is to post the same kind of stuff day in and day out. You need to shake things up a bit so they don’t grow stale.

People don’t want to see the same things all the time in the same format. By switching it up, you can see what kind of posts your audience reacts to the most. Use posts of videos, photos, links, pose questions and more to draw your audience in.

You can create quizzes, share articles and other content that’s related. You can also do things like asking the audience to caption a photo or have a throwback post.

That’s where you post a picture from years past - like funny 80s clothing or old technology to stir up the conversation. Make sure that you post consistently and that you when you do, you’re available to interact with the audience.

There’s nothing worse than a drive-by poster. Use a Pinterest account to interact with your audience. You can do things like holding a contest where everyone has to share a photo of something.

You can offer prizes and other perks to increase interest. Use the site to offer consumers deals where, by sharing what you pin, they can have access to some type of discount.

Have more than one board because this lets you have more content and the ability to share more topics, which offers a wider range of appeal to your audience.

Re-pin what your audience posts. This causes consumers to submit topics and feel like they’re part of the inner circle. Twitter makes if pretty easy to engage with an audience fast.

Make your Twitter account personable. Don’t use a fake profile or avatar. Talk about things that you’re passionate about and share pictures. Talk back to others.

Respond, thank people, and share their news to give back. Your audience will feel connected to you. When sharing content that’s not yours, don’t just pass it along, say something even it’s just “love this” and don’t use all the 140 characters.

This allows people ease of use for when they pass it on. Get involved in chats that your audience is part of. Keep your sentences short. It’s okay and even eye-catching to not have the sentences on the same line.
Use hashtags (#) and @mentions to engage your audience.

If you use Instagram, keep your attention on the personality behind your business rather than the selling. Make sure that you take advantage of re-gramming a post.

That’s where you will repost something your audience shared. Make sure you acknowledge where the original post came from. Don’t ever share things just to share them – make sure you support or are intrigued by the idea.

Use videos and offer promotions such as telling the audience if they comment, they’re eligible to win a particular prize. Keep an eye on the influencers on Instagram and engage with them.

This helps build your audience, too. Take advantage of the hashtags like #follow or use the emotion ones like #happy. Interact with the audience by commenting on the conversations they’re in.
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How Often Should You Post and Interact?

People handle social media in two ways. They either bombard the site or they use it every now and then. You must be consistent with whichever social media method you use.

But being consistent doesn’t mean posting so often that people get sick and tired of seeing your stuff. There’s a fine line between sharing and spamming and you don’t want to cross that line by not understanding how social media should work.

It’s true that you should post frequently. No one can get to know you and you can’t engage with your audience if you’re never around. At the very least, you should post something every day - and those posts should be done often enough so that you build a relationship.

How often you should post is going to depend on which site you’re using. If you’re using Pinterest, it’s okay to spread out your posts up to 4 times a day. Just don’t do one giant post.

Post in the morning, once in the afternoon, once in the evening and once at night. Each time you post, you can engage with your audience. For Twitter, don’t post more than three times each day.

You’ll actually find that your audience starts to grow tired of seeing your content if you post more often than that unless it’s highly useful or reevant. Instagram analytics don’t really show that audience engagement lessens with multiple posting as long as you interact.

Facebook interaction should be done once in the morning and once in the evening, minimum. If you post all day long, it looks like you spend all your time there, and you don’t want to give that impression as a leading expert.

You can engage more often if you use Google+ because this site actually sees audience engagement boosts when you post more often. Still, you want to spread it out through the day and stick to about 3 times each day.

What to Post for Increased Engagement;

You might sometimes feel like you don’t have a lot to say on social media. Maybe that’s why you haven’t posted as much as you should. But coming up with something to post is a lot easier than you think.

When you do post, make sure that you post something with a picture. Studies have shown that if there’s an image with whatever you post, it gets a higher response rate and people tend to share pictures more than other types of posts.

People love to be inspired - and a great way to engage with your audience is to share quotes that inspire them. You can use ones that have a special meaning to you.

When you run across something that you really like, save it to your computer in a folder so that you’ll also have a supply of inspiring quotes on hand to share. These quotes can range from business inspiration to personal motivation to quotes that make people stop and think about life in general.

The good news is that when they see that quote later, more often than not, they’ll remember that you’re the one who shared it before. If you think that you have trouble knowing what to say on social media, keep in mind that other people do, too.

They might see a post they really like but won’t comment on it because they’re too shy or don’t know what to say. You can stir up more engagement by asking questions on your social media sites.

People will answer questions because it’s more of a group effort. When they see others responding to the question, they’ll jump in. It’s okay to share posts about new products that you like or even your own products.

Just make sure that you don’t let the post come across as a pushy sales post. Instead of hawking the product, you can post it and say something like you just finished working on it and you’re so excited.

Then it comes across as you letting them see behind the scenes rather than you turning into a sales person. Share personal stuff, too. This doesn’t mean that you showcase embarrassing things or any family drama.

It means sharing a picture of your garden or your vacation. You can share the latest antics of your cat or dog - or an event that you attended. What this does is it makes you come across as a human being rather than a business - and people connect more when they feel like they see the person behind the brand.
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Reward Your Audience for Engaging;

When you reward your audience for engaging, it helps build loyalty. People love to be rewarded. They love to get something that they weren’t expecting. It helps them feel appreciated.

When people feel appreciated by someone, it makes them feel as if they know you and that you’re someone they can build an online relationship with. It’s easy to find ways to make sure you regularly reward your audience.

You don’t want to do it so often that people only show up and only interact because they think you’re giving something away every time. But you want to do it often enough so that it makes a difference.

Small giveaways throughout the month are appropriate with bigger giveaways spaced out through the year like a grand prize. You can arrange it so that when someone in your audience comments on something that you’ve posted that get access to information or maybe a beta version of a product before anyone else does.

If someone shares one of your posts, you can reward them with the same deal. What this does is it creates a kind of street team of loyal followers who will gladly promote you to other people on their own social media sites.

People love to have the chance to win prizes too and you’ll see your engagement soar when you offer specific prizes. Gift cards are extremely popular. You can offer coffee store gift cards, bookstore gift cards, ones to restaurants or Amazon gift cards.

Some people will use Rafflecopter to handle the entries in any type of contest they have. But that’s not the best course to take because you can have people sharing just the link to the Rafflecopter widget.

That means that it won’t increase views or interaction. It also means that people who don’t have the slightest interest in you or your brand will enter the contest multiple times in hopes of winning.

What you want to do is to pay attention to the people on your social media who actively engage with you. When you see this, reach out to them and offer them some exclusive perks.

Maybe you can give them some new software you created or a special report that’s usually only available in your membership forum. There are endless ways you can go above and beyond with your audience!

Use Data to Make Your Engagement Soar;

Knowing when to post something on social media is just as important as knowing what to post. You don’t want to spend time and energy focused on creating engaging posts only to have them disappear unnoticed into the cyber void of social media.

This void is what occurs when interest and engagement is at its lowest point – your audience is offline, sleeping or doing other things. If you know when those times are, then you can avoid it.

You can also make your posts more audience specific if you learn who they are. Posts that are directed to a narrower audience will hit their target more than a broad, all inclusive post will.

It’s just a fact of life that not everyone is going to be interested in what you have to say. So why not gear your interaction toward the people who do want to hear what it is you share?

You can use data to make sure that you’re posting during the times that your audience is most active. By posting during these times, what you post will end up at the top of their feed rather than buried at the bottom.

For example, if you use Twitter and you tweet during the week, you don’t want to tweet first thing in the morning. Most people don’t hop right on. They take care of a few things first, then check their social media.

So you would want to put your tweet out there in the mid morning. You would also not want to engage in posts on Twitter late at night because that’s when the site is the least active and your tweet could end up getting missed by your target audience.

This information can also help you redefine your marketing campaigns when you do those. By knowing when and what to post, you can create content that’s tailor made and hits the mark.

Most social media sites have analytic tools that you can use. Plus, there are outside ones that you can use to check on how well your posts are performing. You can use Facebook insights to see what demographic was interacting with your page.

You might see something that shows that 65% of your demographic were women while 35% were men. You’ll also be able to see age and relationship, language and the size of their household.

You’ll be able to ascertain how often your audience is active on the Facebook site. If you check out page insights, you’ll see the number of people who shared your posts or engaged on your page.

All of this information and research into your social media experience can help you build a rabid fan base of people who not only like what you share and teach, but feel compelled to get others onboard, too.

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