My View on Driving Site Traffic (Part 2 of 2)

As I said, what I want to share with you today is what I have learned about ‘traffic exchanges’ (TE) so far.

I have only been using a few TE sites over the past couple of months and would value feedback from the more advanced marketers regarding their use, please.

There are some awesome TE sites out there like Hungry for Hits, EasyHits4U, TrafficAdBar and far too many more to list for you here – I want you awake!

The fact that there are so very many of these sites tells me they are obviously in demand and spreading like wildfire, because they are also a way to ‘advertise for free’ and if you are an affiliate marketer, can be very valuable relationships to have while driving a steady flow of traffic to your site, hopefully earning you more free traffic and money from your product sales.

However, as with much found on the Net, there are significant glitches to these systems not only in terms of how they are designed and function during surfing, or the fact that they can be addictive, it seems to me that once you start, you can’t really stop because your site traffic/visitor count will suffer considerably – as will your online Rep.

To my way of thinking, it would not look good for any site to have hundreds of visitors for a day/week or so and then suddenly drop off to only a few. I do not believe that would look good in the eyes of ‘Google’ or any of the other search engines either. So, what to do? Please read on to find out.

I have blogged on and off now for a few years and was always told that ‘content was king’ and is what drives traffic to a site. Another driver is interesting ‘products’ that are ‘Evergreen’ preferably.

However, I do not recall any mention of traffic exchanges, free advertising sites, or any kind of free advertising for that matter, other than the ‘norm’ of posting my links on all of my social networking sites, and in my email close of course.

Nonetheless, I did not have a traffic problem with any of my sites (at least in my mind) but must admit I did not achieve the high response rate I am currently enjoying since working on a number of these TE sites.

That said, it seems clear to me that if I were to stop utilizing these exchanges, my numbers would, of course, decrease, which is a bummer for any site or blog owner. The likelihood that I would end up returning to recapture my solid audience is strong while continuing to work on my site, and build a few more.

I do not totally buy into the concept that ‘content is king’ as I have analyzed a good number of sites that I thought hosted excellent and useful content, and had great online Reps – only to learn that their visitor stats were not at all much higher than my own. So, if the content is, in fact, king, what is the problem? Not enough ‘buzz’, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and on-site/image optimizations? Not enough content or consistent posting?

The funny thing is, while holding these sites that come to mind in high regard, right up there on the proverbial pedestal, they all could have used Traffic Exchanges to grow their online presence on the ‘global stage’ and had many more eyeballs looking at their work and product offerings. Maybe I’m different, but I find this fact interesting.

It should go without saying that ‘content’ is crucial to any site – you cannot market a bare site OR one that is just advertising for your affiliate programs. Creative, useful, and knowledgeable content is a MUST have of course. I am simply saying I do not believe it is the be all, end all for driving traffic to your sites.

That all said, I think that Traffic Exchanges offer bloggers and website owners a valuable tool for getting eyeballs on your sites, even if they are only used in the initial stages of your site development. All the millions of sites on the internet are competing with each other in every niche you can possibly think of. They MUST be using SEO strategies, and I suspect that part of that process involves using these traffic exchanges to gain recognition with more visitors to their sites, AND also getting FREE advertising for their products or services while earning some cash along the way. That’s pretty wicked awesome in my book. It certainly beats having to BUY traffic!

I would love to hear your thoughts on Traffic Exchanges, please!

  • What do you think of these exchanges?
  • Do you currently use any TE sites for your sites?
  • Would you consider using them after reading this post?
  • How many TE sites have you found that actually ‘pay you cash’ versus just getting more traffic, free ads, or your site higher up in their rankings?

P.S. There is another thing I have noticed using Traffic Exchanges that I think is very valuable. Reading all those ads induces some creativity for writing your own for one thing. What turns you off is likely to turn off others, but the good ones really stand out – I tend to remember those and add them to my ‘favourites’ for future reference. It really gets the juices flowing – HUGE advantage to keep in mind for your present and future sites!

Thanks so much for visiting today, much appreciated. Make it an awesome day!

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My View on Driving Site Traffic (Part 1 of 2)

Image Source: Bing Images

Image Source: Bing Images

 

If you are reading this page I can only assume you either have your own blog or website(s) or are planning to create your first site very soon.

I am basically a returning novice to the internet/affiliate marketing game myself, and want to share with you what I have learned so far in terms of capturing the all-importanttraffic.’

I should mention here that I have been fortunate in having made a few good sales in the past, but let life get in the way of seriously pursuing internet/affiliate marketing, social media marketing, etc. I am now ready to give it a solid shot, knowing it will take much time and effort, and involves a high learning curve to achieve true success.

Fortunately, there are a myriad of resources on the Net to help those entering the internet marketing arena for affiliates specifically. A quick Google search will reward you with pages of excellent resources you can tap into.

FOR NEWBIES – BUILDING YOUR FIRST BLOG/WEBSITE

I would recommend a ‘free’ blog if you are very new to working and sharing on the Net. If you want to start with a ‘hosted’ site, I would highly recommend WordPress Engine. An excellent first-class platform, WP Engine offers lovely themes that cover A-Z for business and hobby sites, easy to use formats with numerous layout options, and to top that off, for August you can get 3 MONTHS FREE on any Annual WP Engine Plan. WordPress offers excellent training and support, and is quite simply an amazing platform! (Coupon Code: FunnelWPE ~ Valid for new customers purchasing any Personal, Professional, or Business plan. Offer expires 8/31/2017.)

If you have never attempted this type of challenge before, it can be quite daunting. When you are feeling totally stressed out and getting confused with all the conflicting information at your disposal on the Net (and trust me, this will happen to you) do yourself a favour and take a ‘short’ break, and walk away from what you’re doing for 20-30 minutes.

If you still don’t feel confident or comfortable enough to return to your project after your short break, let it go, and go out for a while. If your goal and commitment are both clear and strong enough, it won’t be long before you are back working away to get your site just the way you want, and launched. That is very exciting and feels awesome!

Having your own blog or website takes a great deal of work, but rewards you with the greatest sense of accomplishment, while simultaneously getting you on the road to ‘building your personal brand’ on the “Global Stage.” IF you incorporate affiliate marketing on your sites, you open the door to creating substantial, passive incomes.

TRAFFIC – Well, first of all, whether you have one site or several, they will mean nothing without traffic! Ideally, of course, you will endeavour to drive traffic to your site that have a predisposed interest in your product or service, or if a hobby site, draw others that share your passion.

Whatever you decide to create, or perhaps have already created, all your hard work will be for not if no one is visiting your site.

There are several avenues you can use to stimulate interest and drive traffic to your site(s). Here are just a few examples of what I mean:

  • Facebook Page;
  • Twitter;
  • You Tube Channel;
  • LinkedIn;
  • Pinterest;
  • Tumbler;
  • Digg;
  • Forums (Sites specifically for bloggers, niche forums, etc.);
  • Your Email provider (signatures include links to sites);
  • Free Classified Ad Sites; and
  • Traffic Exchanges (FREE!).

Your site names and links should always be in your email sign-off, and on ALL social networking sites that you join, or belong to now.

Please click here to read the juicy Part 2!

Promoting an ‘L&G’ Culture ~ Influential Admin Team Leaders (Part 2 of 2)

Cont’d from Promoting an ‘L&G’ Culture  ~ Influential Admin Team Leaders (Part 1 of 2)

“We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day”, Sir Richard Branson

Other ideas that your Admin Team Leader(s) can explore requires strong negotiating skills in dealing with program vendors with regards to licensing matters. Ideally, this is where your IT department comes into play, as they will be able to offer a wealth of information on this subject, including sharing their direct contacts.

Speaking of your IT department, it is this group of specialists that will guarantee relevant services are provided on your firm portal, assuming your firm has one.

If your firm does not yet have a portal, I would suggest that your Team Leaders meet to work out the commonalities among the administrative body for this team’s specific training programs and coaching needs.

He or she can then speak to the IT team to establish what is plausible. Armed with this knowledge, they could then present their plan to their administrators and HR team for discussion and implementation approvals.

These ideas may well present a more attention-grabbing and engaging atmosphere for your employees to learn and grow, as opposed to the use of the conventional external training and coaching settings that are costly, and often take your employees off-site.

Another approach to ponder, used throughout our history, although considered a touch unorthodox, is the system of bartering firm services for the desired equipment, training, coaching, or another requirement.

For example, if you have a significant number of employees requiring a particular training or coaching, I would contemplate attempting an exchange of services where possible with the high-ticket external training and coaching companies.

Depending on your industry, this exchange could look like offering free advertising, notably reduced printing costs, accounting services, or a significant discount on a myriad of other professional services.

While this method requires clever negotiations skills, the results would surely prove worthy, while creating a win-win situation for each party.

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Promoting an ‘L&G’ Culture ~ Influential Admin Team Leaders (Part 1 of 2)

“We should all pick up new skills, ideas, viewpoints, and ways of working every day”, Sir Richard Branson

http://www.theclci.com/products_PMMS-BSC04.htm

 

If you have an influential Admin Team Leader in place for your department(s), you are most fortunate.

An effective Admin Team Leader will listen to all of your concerns about your role; perhaps as yet unattainable tools or equipment, and of course, learning and growth training that encourage your career advancement.

The Team Leader is your ‘go-to’ to express any job-related issues, whether that looks like an associate concern, workload issues, overtime, or what have you.

While a Team Leader shoulders many responsibilities, their chief role is to make sure their assigned teams are operating efficiently and effectively, and thus, have the right programs and tools at their disposal to work at peak performance levels consistently.

Naturally, discontented employees are not going to stick with their departments or any firm that does not offer a culture of opportunity. Firms not operating in this culture are sure to face real and expensive employee retention issues.

The Admin Team Leader, operating within the firm budget guidelines, must be resourceful in sourcing either internal or external coaching and training resources, and cost-effective tools for the firm, while still offering value for your administrative teams.

Depending on the scale of your firm, and the number of employees requesting (or requiring) coaching and training, your Admin Team Leader(s) may wish to consider:

  1. Sourcing experts inside the firm network to present talks to your team;
  2. Reaching out to firm mentors and coaches, to see if they would be willing to discuss the connected issues and programs together with your team; and
  3. Negotiating in-house contracts for knowledgeable, competent program trainers to keep costs down.

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Is your Firm ‘Connecting’ with You?

Engaged Employees

Connected employees will stay with their firms, become a dedicated advocate of the firm, as well as proactively seek out viable ways to create a positive difference by contributing in some way to the bottom line of the firm’ financial success.

Connected employees can typically achieve higher performance levels with results attributable to their natural dedication and motivation. Therefore, I suggest that there is a remarkable link between connected employees and corporate profit margins.

Employee ‘connectedness’, or engagement is crucial to organizations that seek to not only retain valued employees but truly engage with their staff at all levels, thus increasing its level of performance.

Major Factors of Connection

Many organizational factors influence connected employees & employee retention, such as:

  • A culture of value and respect where outstanding work is valued;
  • Easily accessible, consistent, and constructive feedback and mentoring;
  • Adequate office tools and equipment to complete work responsibilities;
  • Fair and proper reward, recognition and incentive programs;
  • Opportunity for advancement and professional growth;
  • Readily available, and effective leadership;
  • Clear and definitive job expectations, and
  • Generating a high level of motivation.

Do you know how Engaged & Connected your Employees are today?

The first step is to learn what the present level of employee engagement is. The simplest and most convenient tool to measure this component may well be a Comprehensive Employee Satisfaction Survey, which is widely used in our corporations today.

A well-crafted and administered satisfaction survey allows you to understand at which level of engagement your employees are operating. Customizable employee surveys can offer you with a place to begin in your efforts to optimize employee engagement.

The key to successful employee satisfaction surveys is to pay close attention to the feedback from your employees. Typically, this is the only way to identify their specific concerns and issues.

When divisional or firm leaders listen, employees respond by changing behaviour and consciously become perceptibly more engaged, resulting in increased productivity and employee retention.

Engaged employees are more likely to be content in their roles, stay with the company, and consistently strive for higher levels of performance, and ultimately, of course, a promotion.

I believe that listening to your employees’ concepts, and acting on their contributions, coupled with actively involving employees in the decision-making process, are all key factors in realizing the coveted reward of employee engagement.

Plan Do Check Act System: Employee Engagement

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The Plan Do Check Act system is an effective problem-solving technique that sets the foundation for a culture of continuous improvement.

All organizations face a myriad of challenges, particularly the larger firms. Whether or not they are big issues like elusive revenue targets, or efficiency-specific problems such as rework, following the ‘Plan Do Check Act’ system will help businesses implement effective solutions.

The key activities involved in each of these four stages of this straightforward system are outlined for you below.

PLAN

In this stage, identify the source of the problem and craft a solution. Conducting an intensive cause analysis is critical to any problem-solving initiative; allowing you to style a solution that may fix the issue, not merely cover it up.

Many tools can be used to conduct a root (or real) cause analysis. Two common tools that come to mind are fishbone diagrams (cause and effect) and the ‘5 whys’ (asking “why?” repeatedly until identifying the cause).

Once the cause of the problem is known and fully understood, choose and design the solution that best addresses it. Anticipate the impact following solution implementation, and make sure to collect the baseline information.

DO

In the Do stage, carry out the solution. To prepare for the implementation, create action and communication plans, and conduct a stakeholder analysis. Once these elaborated plans are in place, enforce it in the work area.

CHECK

In the Check stage, the results are reviewed to see if a solution has been reached and to quantify the benefits and advantages. Speak with the people directly involved in the change to get their opinion. Capture this new information, and compare it with the initial information to measure your gains.

ACT

In the Act stage, the amendment is incorporated into standard work, if no further enhancements are necessary. If moving forward with the final amendments, change any process documents accordingly, and communicate the permanent changes to all stakeholders.

If more improvements are required, apply the Plan Do Check Act system once more, until the changes can be incorporated into commonplace work practices.

While the above stages offer guidance on what activities need to take place, of equal importance is ‘how’ these steps are carried out, and how they are applied.

The most successful problem-solving initiatives actively engage employees at all levels throughout this process. Employees on the front lines, who do the work daily, have the foremost comprehensive understanding of where the problem areas are.

These employees know what solutions are going to be most effective, and what communication and coaching need to exist. By placing value on their comments, and basing solutions on their hands-on knowledge and ideas, organizations will carry out effective solutions for the longer term.

The Plan Do Check Act system is an effective problem-solving technique that sets the foundation for a culture of continuous improvement. Momentum will increase as employees learn to apply the new tools to their work areas — which of course is the goal for any organization seeking efficiencies through employee engagement.

Remember to ‘Market Your Soft Skills’ in Your Job Search (Part 2 of 2)

In this last section of ‘Remember to ‘Market your Soft Skills,’ I am going to assume that you have taken some time to consider your soft skills seriously, and what you have to offer your current or next employer, in concert with your professional credentials.

As I mentioned previously, more import is placed on a candidate’s soft skills of late, and this is true for both potential employers directly and Staffing Agencies. In some cases, a candidate with less experience will get the position based on his or her personality, presentation, and effective communications demonstrated during the interview(s).

The downside of this situation is of course remuneration, as it would be adjusted due to the difference in the educational and professional requirements specified for the role. However, the fact is that when a job candidate does land a role, he or she will learn how to be effective, moving forward when the opportune time arrives or is proactively sought out.

I have certainly witnessed the hiring of staff based on personality, where others have had more experience to offer, and I am confident that my readers can also relate to this scenario.

Now, let’s get to the core of this article, and review potential ‘transferable skills’, which could look like:

  • Good time & project management skills;
  • Ability to influence others;
  • Team player attitude;
  • Excellent listening skills;
  • Easily builds strong relationships; and
  • Strong organizational skills.

For example, let’s say a Home Depot salesperson desperately wants to get into the hospitality industry but has no prior experience to offer. The skills of a successful salesperson would of course easily transfer over to the hospitality industry for obvious reasons, and therefore, I say go for it!

I realize this is a very basic and elementary example, but I am sure you get my point. I believe that it comes down to ‘how you present’ in an interview, as I have stated in my previous articles. Your ’unique personal skills and attributes’ may look like:

  • Goes above and beyond;
  • Has a positive attitude;
  • Strong work ethic;
  • Quick study; and
  • Creative & Self-directed.

Of course, we all have something different to bring to the table, as it were. How we communicate our given skills is what matters, and what makes the difference when under pressure in situations such as job interviews and performance reviews.

Remember to ‘Market Your Soft Skills’ in Your Job Search (Part 1 of 2)

When conducting a job search, whether internally or externally, it is natural to be anxious about our ‘hard’ skills such as computer programs knowledge; graphics programs, advanced Excel formulas, the Net, firm portals, and confidence with using social media/networking tools, etc. All of these skills are a requirement of any job within the corporate world today and are valuable skills to have.

In our current job markets, employers do not seem to be solely probing for appropriate levels of education, certification, and technical skills, but rather ‘soft skills’ which will immediately engage the person interviewing you, as well as the various groups you will be working with once on board.

Companies that are presently advertising positions are requesting much more than pre-recession, as they have deep considerations around employee retention, economic conditions, and the apprehensive anticipation of losing valuable employees, once the economy is on a better footing, and has stabilized.

It is a logical assumption that some firms could lose staff as the economy improves, as opportunities from competitors present themselves, and offers of higher compensation and benefits hold an obvious attraction, most definitely if the employee is feeling ‘disengaged’ from their current employer.

Putting aside your hard skills and academic background, for now, consider the soft skills you have to bring to the table. Target what you recognize as your ‘transferable’ and ‘unique personal soft skills’, which will work to your advantage as you continue on your job search journey.

Are these skills highlighted within the body of your Cap Profile and Resume, and noted in all of your cover letters? If not, make sure they are going forward, as it will stimulate positive outcomes for you.

I would urge you to speak with your professional references to learn if they are including your distinctive and valued soft skills in their referral communications. Where appropriate, ask them to please include these details on a go forward basis.

 

Please continue reading Part 2 of 2 here, Thank You!

Managing and Preventing Employee Fraud (Part 1 of 2)

Industries allocate billions of dollars each year to employee fraud, and no sector seems to be exempt from such frauds. It is vital to be aware of the potential for employee wrongdoings in your firm and to take steps to avoid them by isolating opportunities, and ensuring your internal controls are designed to deliver absolute maximum protection.

The most common types of employee fraud are:

  • Submitting fictitious invoices;
  • Paying personal expenses with firm funds;
  • Theft of receipts or cash on hand;
  • Payroll or expense compensation fraud; and
  • Altering or forging cheques.

These thefts often go undetected for periods between 8 and 36 months. Most often, employees who steal money work alone; and apparently, many of these employees have been with the firm for 3 years or longer.

HOW CAN YOU BEST MANAGE IT?

The best way to deal with employee theft is to keep it from happening in the first place. Doing so requires implementing sound internal controls, which might include:

Risk Assessment
Examine your firm’s policies, procedures, and processes for any weaknesses within the system at intervals for safeguarding integrity and ethics. Conduct a risk assessment every 2 years, or when there is a significant system modification or staff change (such as a new billing clerk).

Separation of Employee Duties
Avoid having just one employee in charge of purchasing and approving or adding vendors. Although it may be difficult to assign duties among several employees in smaller firms, it is imperative that you implement internal controls that let employees know they are likely to be caught if they try to steal.

In addition, cheques with invoices ought to be given to the proper party for approval and sign off. Likewise, if you are using an electronic bill payment system, only owner-partners should be authorized to approve payments.

Monitoring Employee Behavior
Look for telltale signs that an employee is involved with or considering fraud. For instance, an employee who never goes on vacation or takes a day off may not want another employee to have access to his or her files. To combat this behavior, implement a requirement that all employees take scheduled vacations, and cross-train staff members on each other’s duties and responsibilities…….

Please enjoy reading the balance of this article here. Thanks!


Supporting Article Research Sources: Ostrow, Reisin, Berk & Abrams Ltd., Mondaq.com

Managing and Preventing Employee Fraud (Part 2 of 2)

WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT STEPS?

Revisit Your Hiring Process

First and foremost, criminal record checks should be a legal hiring requirement for all new hires as well as your current employees. However, keep in mind that nearly two-thirds of offenders are not prosecuted; therefore, their next employer may be unable to learn of their previous offenses.

It would also be prudent to undertake a thorough reference checking process, and if legally appropriate, include credit checks as well.

Contemplate Surprise Audits and Training

Employees should know that impromptu audits are likely to occur, however, they should not know what data will be under review. These audits do not need to be top-to-bottom reviews of the firm’s finances; instead, they need to target specific areas.

Additionally, overlapping financial records should be reconciled sporadically. As an example, compare receipts that are recorded in the billing system to revenues recorded in the accounting system, then cross-check those numbers with your bank deposits. Make certain someone other than the employee who prepares the records conducts the reconciliation.

Lastly, you may want to consider restricting employee computer access to only those computers, programs, and the electronic data required to perform their jobs efficiently.

Educate your staff about what constitutes fraudulent, illegal and unethical actions; their role in preventing and deterring fraud; and how to recognize the signs of prohibited behavior. Doing so will make them more likely to note suspicious behavior, and weaken their ability to defend themselves if they are caught in the act of defrauding the firm.

 

Supporting Article Research Sources: Mondaq.com, Ostrow, Reisin, Berk & Abrams Ltd.