Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fastest growing California cities

Caliornia Cities
(in no particular order)

1. The City of Rancho Cucamonga City Hall is located at 10500 Civic Center Drive, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, 91730. Our phone number is 909-477-2700 and the fax number is 909-477-2848.Rancho Cucamonga has a population of 161,000 as of 2006. Ranco Cucamonga is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA. Ranco Cucamonga is in San Bernardino County.

2. Palmdale, California, is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA.almdale City
38300 Sierra Highway
Palmdale, CA 93550
661/267-5122 - fax

3. City of Bakersfield.
1501 Truxtun Avenue., Bakersfield, California 93301
Business Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday except Holidays
Ph: 661-326-3000


City of Visalia
707 W. Acequia
Visalia, CA 93291
Fax (559)713-4800


Santa Clarita, California, is located about 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, and occupies most of the Santa Clarita Valley. Santa Clarita is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA. The 2005 population estimate was over 167,000. It was rated the 6th safest place to live in the US.

Santa Clarita, California
23920 Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Phone(661) 259-CITY (2489)

Fontana, California, sits in Bernardino County. Fontana is a significant industrial suburb of Los Angeles. The population is largely blue collar.

Stockton, California, is one of the fastest growing cities in the USA. The estimated population of Stockton in 2005 was over 290,000. Over 660,000 people live in the area.

Stockton City Council
425 N. El Dorado Street Stockton, CA 95202
Ph. (209) 937-8212

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Scenic and Quiet Stops in California

In a state well known for its traffic jams and earthquakes, Monterey, California is a refreshing change of pace. Monterey, which is on the coast overlooking Monterey Bay, has so much to offer, well beyond the well-renowned surf and beautiful beaches. With all the great things to see and do, this trip is well worth it, no matter the time of year, and no matter your taste.

Eye candy, right from your car

Much of the area's economy is based on tourism. The bay itself is a wildlife preserve, so the expanses of rocky Northern California coastline are absolutely gorgeous. Personally I am a big fan of taking pictures everywhere I go, and the picturesque beauty of this place is well worth the trip, if only for the lovely photographic mementos.

Especially gorgeous is an expanse in Pebble Beach called 17-mile drive. 17-Mile Drive is a great way to just cruise up and down the coach, and take in the beauty of the scenery and wildlife. Sightings include pelicans, seals, otters, and sometimes even whales.

Of course, what trip to California would be complete without surfing? If you do not have your own board or jet ski, there are plenty of places where you can rent one. For the surf challenged, lessons are available just about everywhere you go.

Year round must see attractions

For the literary, fans of Steinbeck will be happy to find that Canary Row is still there. Most of the canaries are gone now, but Canary Row is full of famous restaurants, small or large art galleries, and shops you will not find anywhere else.

Anybody with an interest in oceanography or marine biology should then proceed immediately to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which happens to be one of the world's leading research institutes. The two-story otter tank is not to be missed.

The historic perspective

In downtown Monterey still stand a number of the original, traditional adobes. These clay buildings are testaments to the rich cultural history of the Monterey Bay area. Many of the historic buildings are available for tour, and there are historic walking tours available throughout much of the city as well.

Fisherman's Wharf is also downtown, and you can get the freshest seafood imaginable there. I recommend the Liberty Fish Co. because the employees love it there. The owners are very good people, which is a rare find in the restaurant business.

Maybe even run into someone famous

Golfers won't want to miss the Pebble Beach golf courses, which are not only famous, but draw a number of celebrities such as Bill Murray every year, as well as Clint Eastwood, who lives there. Eastwood was actually the mayor of Carmel for a while, and still manages one or two restaurants in the area.

The Lost Boys was filmed and set in Santa Cruz, though they changed the name. Santa Cruz is across the bay from Monterey. The amusement park from the film is real; it's the Santa Cruz Beach & Boardwalk.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

What is list building?

Imagine this……You have a website and business is booming. You are getting a lot of visitors and making a lot of sales. Everything is going really well. You feel content that you are experiencing success. WRONG!

Pretty soon your business will level out. And, once you peak, there is a real danger that you are about to begin a descent. DON’T let this happen. If you want your business to be a continued success and grow, then make the most of your website visitors to grow your business.

Right now you have hundreds, or even thousands of visitors. But who are they? Imagine if you had information about your visitors. What if you could contact them and promote your products and develop relationships? Well, you CAN do this and you NEED to do this to make yourself a success.

Having access to a customer list is like having a captive market and a customer focus group rolled into one. The possibilities are almost endless. But isn’t this is just a pipe dream for most businesses?

No! The good news is you can achieve this all by list building!

And guess what? IT’S EASY!

You can start from anywhere – or nowhere. If you currently have a list of thousands customers or you have no list at all you can very quickly build up a list as large as you want.

Think about your own website. Look at your statistics. You’ll be amazed at how few of your visitors are actually converted into sales. Experienced Internet entrepreneurs estimate that 98% will visit and leave your site without buying anything.

List building is the answer to your poor conversion rate.

But how can YOU do this?

Well the e-mail marketers mantra is:

“The fortune is in the follow up.”

No one has made a million dollars by relying on the 2% of sales they get from people stumbling onto their site. The real money is getting those one-time visitors to opt-in to your list and then persuading them to buy with your list marketing campaign.

However, this isn’t a formula for overnight success. List building can take time. But so what? If you really want success from your Internet business then it’s definitely worth the wait.

Everywhere you go you are bombarded with advertisements. Brand giants like Coca-Cola seem to be everywhere. Why? Because experts believe that the average person needs to see an advert for a product or service 27 times before they are persuaded to buy it. The same principle applies to your list marketing campaign.

Everyone on the list is a potential customer – and most of them will buy from you IF you market it to them in the right way.

People take different lengths of time to reach a decision. Some people might buy from you the first time you e-mail them. Some will need seven e-mails. Other will need 100 messages before they are persuaded to part with their money. That is understandable.

People don’t just throw money about and your potential customers need to be courted. But it is worth the effort – even if it takes two years for someone to take the bait, they will eventually. By asking someone to spend money on your site you are asking them to make a commitment to your site: you have to show them that you are equally committed by embarking on a long term list marketing campaign.

Sound hard? Well, it isn’t. Sure it takes time, desire and effort, but what worthwhile endeavour doesn’t?

In fact, list building is very simple!

It just involves creating a database of names and email addresses. But it opens up a whole world of new marketing possibilities that can change your business forever.

Building a list will turn you from just another small Internet business into a powerful Internet marketer. Even lists with only 200 names can make money – imagine how much money a list with 10,000 names can make!

And all you need is an email newsletter and list of email addresses. That’s all it takes to get started. Obviously there is hard work involved, but the start is simple! So where do you start?

Advertise your newsletter on your site. Try and hook people in. For example, your site sells bakery products: promise a new recipe every week in your newsletter. People will opt-in to your list.

That means they have given you permission to send them a newsletter with a baking recipe every week. You're just getting their trust, so don’t abuse it. Only send them information relevant to what they have agreed to receive or you could lose their trust instantly.

SPAM mail is the key to destroying your list! DON’T send people poor or irrelevant information.

The Internet has great possibilities, but trust can be hard to generate.

When you work in a local shop, people can trust you from knowing and seeing you each day. One thing the Internet lacks is that personal relationship between businesses and customers.

By building your list you CAN create that relationship. It doesn’t matter if you are sending a newsletter to 5 people or 5000 people: you must make the newsletter as personal as possible. Who would you buy a television from? A company that you have no knowledge of, or a business that you have been receiving e-mails from every week for six months? You’d probably choose the latter. Personal relationships with your customers are priceless.

Let’s look at a six step business model for your website:

1. People visit your website

2. People sign up for opt-in list

3. You email those people promoting a product

4. The recipients visit your site and make a purchase

5. You then offer the customer a special offer

6. The customer is taken to a ‘thank you’ with instructions about claiming the special offer

It all sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, it sounds simple because it IS simple. But it’s only simple if you put time and effort into building your list and developing a relationship with your customer.

Thankfully, there are ways to take a good deal of the hard work out of list building. Most web hosts, for example, will allow you to create an auto responder for your site. The best auto responders to use are sequential auto responders. Say, for example, that in a seven-week period you want to send seven different emails to your subscribers.

A sequential auto responder would work like this:

Week 1 – Send Message One

Week 2 – Send Message Two

Week 3 – Send Message Three

And so on until week seven. All you need to do is load your email messages into the system and then set the time intervals. That’s ALL you need to do. And, if you’ve judged your marketing campaign correctly, you can just sit back and watch the money roll in!

But how do you build your list?

Well, the easiest way to begin to build a list is to set up a squeeze page. A squeeze page is a page on your website designed for the simple purpose of capturing email addresses from potential customers.

But people aren’t just going to sign up are they? Well, maybe not – so offer them a bribe (albeit an ethical one).

An ethical bribe might be something like a free e-book or a special edition of your newsletter. When someone signs up on your squeeze page they are immediately sent what you have promised them. Another member of your list is hooked for life.

The squeeze page can be the first step in building that lucrative personal relationship with customers. So it’s a really good idea to include a photograph – even a video – of yourself on your squeeze page. Let the customer know who you are.

The personal relationship is very important!

OK, so you don’t think you need a list because your business is doing great? Well, think again. None of us like to think about failure, but it can happen at any time. List building prevents this.

Building a list safeguards against failure.

You might not feel like it’s worth the effort now, but you will wish you had done it earlier when your product suddenly goes out of fashion. Your market dominance disappears and you are left with nothing.

Well, you won’t be left with nothing – you will have your list. That list is the key to keeping your business alive when things start to go wrong. When you start a new business or product you will have something that most start up businesses can only dream of: a unique personal relationship with 1000’s of potential customers.

So list building is an important feature of any successful business, whether you are doing well right now or not!

Yes, you have to work and it does take some time and effort. Creating a successful list marketing campaign takes some trial and error, analysing your newsletter’s effectiveness and having the patience to build a relationship with the members of your list.

But list building is worth the investment of both time and effort.

Most web millionaires have earned their money through judicious use of list marketing campaigns. That success does NOT lie. So, be proactive and take heed of these techniques. Whether you are a success or not, these techniques WILL help you.

It really is quite simple and the benefits are huge. You might like to start by setting yourself a target: how about leaving two hours of everyday aside for adding five new names to your list? Do that for two months and you will be amazed how few names you actually need to make your list profitable. And if you are making a profit from a small list then how much money will you make from a larger list?

Well, if you want to find out – see you next time!

Visit Wahm Search Engine for great information and advertising vales

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Join me in a new and exciting journey!

The past two weeks I've been a hermit. I am studying about Web 2.0. It is fascinating.

You know what? The Internet and the advertising world are morphing. Social networking is opening new and wonderful doors that lead to opportunities throughout the world, opportunities to change life as we know it on the planet.

In just two short weeks, I now have four new
good friends in other continents. We are all interested in how to connect with each other in the best way. I am discussing the idea of selling products with a fellow from India. We are working to figure out an affordable way to translate our blogs and websites into many languages.

I've found a secret door and I want to share it with you. I can accept three apprentices at this time. I will not charge you a dime to get in, but you will need to make a minor investment in the AWeber autoresponder that costs $170 per year (monthly plan of $15 is available). I will be intensively screening applicants since the demand is greater than my resources at this time. You must have the willingness to learn and be coached and the time to complete the internet tasks required.

Some things you will learn:

1. get people to contact YOU instead of the old, worn out way
2. build and manage a mailing list
3. write effective copy in the Web 2.0 world
4. rules for success in social network marketing

Contact me at if you are interested.

Here is a nugget of information you can use.

PayPal is more than just a payment processor!

I recently discovered a treasure trove of benefits offered by PayPal for businesses, including very small businesses or those who only occasionally sell items. Although I used PayPal to receive and issue payments for online products bought and sold, I was unaware of the opportunities PayPal has available for sellers through their Merchant Services Business Solutions. While Business Solutions has are many options, the one discussed here focuses on shipping to buyers.

Business Accounts: Website Payments Standard and Website Payments Pro

It takes only minutes to set up your account. Simply go to your PayPal account and click on Merchant Services. Then, depending on your business needs, you set up the account that best meets your needs. For those with occasional sales, the Website Payments Standard is probably an adequate mechanism to use for payment. It takes minutes to set up through PayPal. The Website Payments Pro version is for those who sell items on their website and accept credit card payment. There is no monthly fee, no set-up fee, no cancellation fee. You pay per transaction a sliding fee of 1.9% to 2.9% + $0.30 US dollars.

Your PayPal Business account gives you the ability to invoice your customer using the PayPal website, Quickbooks or Outlook, and accept secure payment through PayPal. Once payment is received, you will automatically be given the opportunity to print out a USPS postage-paid shipping label. Included, without charge, is delivery confirmation – worth 60 cents. All you need do is accurately weigh the boxed product beforehand, choose the type of mail delivery you want, and your printer does the rest. The cost of the postage is drawn from your PayPal Account. Simple.

What happens if your printer suddenly runs out of ink or some other immediate catastrophe? When prompted by the program, you cancel that particular shipping label and either reprint or begin anew.

Stay tuned for more Pay Pal secrets!

Greg Cryns
Newsletter signup page:

My main blog:

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Direct Sales heresy

Here is the heresy:

You can actually make more money selling product than by recruiting. Do you believe that? I do. Here's why:

Out of every 100 people you talk to about your business, how many actually sign up? My guess is that if you got 3 of them you are a really good sales person. Now, how many of those 3 will be successful in your business. My guess is that none of them will. You need more signups. Maybe one out of 25 will be nicely successful.

Second question: out of every 100 people you talk to about your products, how many might become a customer? I am thinking at least 20.

So, you tell me. Would you rather have 100 regular customers or one potential salesperson? Normally I would jump at the chance of 100 regular customers.

But here is one of the problems.

Many direct sales companies are set up to recruit not to grow customers. Why is that? The main reason, in my opinion, is that their product will not sell without making people buy it on a monthly basis in order to make money for themselves. Thus, we have that strange thing called "autoship." Can you see how depending on your downline ordering monthly on "autoship" leaves too much luck in the process to maintain a solid base of strength?

Mary Jane Medlock has over 6,000 customers. She says that you need to earn the respect of your customers before anything else good happens. "I don't think my customers would have been happy if I recruited. They just wanted to lose weight. They wanted my success. They weren't coming to some pyramid thing. They weren't coming so I could put them on autoship."

How much does Mary Jane make? Here's the math: 6,000 customers order about $200 per month each. Her company pays here 20% commission (not points, not bonuses, not a vague amount over a certain monthly sales volume). How much is that? My calculation shows she makes $240,000 a year in commissions.

Let's look at the top direct-sales companies and the commissions they pay. Not too shabby!

Again, if the products are good, why is there so much emphasis on recruitment? My idea is this: if you can't sell the product, leave the company. Is that too harsh?

That MaryKay commission of 50% sure looks yummy. Too bad I'm a guy! Tell me, do MaryKay reps do well? Would you say that the people who have the most sellable products make the most money? Be honest. How hard did you work to get your current downline? How many in your downline are doing much at all?

Lots of questions. I don't know the answers. Please enlighten me.

Pretty much off-topic article:

How to make a great signature file

Here are some ways I can help YOU be as successful as you want to be!
1. advertise on my Ryze Promote It! bulletin board at no cost
2. advertise in my Yahoo group at no cost
3. Sign up for my awesome newsletter! ;)
4. Learn about Web 2.0 on my Squidoo website

Write me if you have any internet marketing questions.

I'd love to have you receive my weekly marketing newsletter. I provide solid, no BS, marketing information for people who work at home.

May the wind be always at your back!

Greg Cryns

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

YouTube Goodies and Ways to Search

We are beginning to see why Google spent so much money buying a property that made almost nothing for over $1 Billion. For example, authors are streaming into (no pun intended) YouTube to tell you about their new books in person.

Here is a trailer for my sister's new novel, Swimming Lessons, due out in May, 2007. Her name is Mary Alice Monroe. Mary Alice has at least seven novels in print.
Swimming Lessons:


Stephen King understands the power of YouTube! Very funny stuff.

Here is a clever ad for an Advocare mixer:

How about setting the mood? Brought to you by

Not to be outdone, check out this candle made specifically for a massage

More beautiful candles presented by

Ameriplan is getting into YouTube

Mompreneurs has a very interesting clip for moms who work at home

Bookwise presentation

A marketing individual shows his stuff – Site Builder

Why Coastal Vacations?

Julie wants to show you how to make money from home

Britney Spears shaved head – ooops! How did this get in here?

Jerry Maurer uses YouTube to tell his sales story

Pampered Chef can opener demo (how exciting)

What is Passion Parties about – a lady promotes herself!

Mimi thanks you for visiting her profile

The first 5 people who contact me at will get a no-cost web page with their own, self-made, video on it.

I'd love to have you receive my weekly marketing newsletter. I provide solid, no BS, marketing information for people who work at home. If you sign up I will send you an interesting report called "17 Bible Foods That Heal" . It is 36 pages in length and chock full of wonderful information. Just send me an email telling me you have signed up and I will send you this report asap.
Good luck!
Greg Cryns

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Google Alerts - how to use them for your blog or website

by Greg Cryns

Google Alerts can be one of your most valuable tools if you are a blogger or a website owner. Once you sign on, you will receive instant email notification when something happens in your niche or on any topic that interests you. Simply, you get alerts when you subscribe through Google's News, Blog or Groups programs.

To begin receiving the Google Alerts you just sign up at the Google Alerts home page. If you do not have a Google general account, you will need to set one up there. Then, you tell Google the TYPE of alert you are looking for (News, Blog or Groups). Then you click the "Create Alert" button. Google then starts the ball rolling when new items appear in its system. You can also tell Google how often to send the new results. (daily or "as it happens").

Pick a topic that reflects your blog or website. There is almost no limit to topics. More popular topics include news items, medical and technology advances, celebrity, entertainment and sports. You could even choose to monitor the activity of your competitors.

Once you get rolling you can tweak your results by asking for topics using different keywords. For example, if you are promoting recipes, you could ask for "pizza recipes" or "sauce recipes". Try more specific or more general keywords and watch the results.

Try Google's Advanced Search page to refine your results. If you find the result you are looking for there, copy and paste that result into the main search page.

If you find you have too many results coming into your email box, just delete a few. It's easy through the interface on the Google site.

You are allowed to make up to 10 Google Alerts at a time. But you can log out and come back immediately to enter more alerts. The maximum you can have is 1,000. Trust me, if you have over 100, you have too many going at once unless you can set up another email account for that purpose only.

Another nice feature of Google Alerts is that you can set your language preferences.

Other ways to use Google Alerts: monitoring a developing news story; competitive intelligence; learning about celebrity activity;sporting events.


You can refine your searches to pick up new and useful information from specific magazines like Time Magazine, for example.
google source:time

Let's say you want to know when another blog links to your blog:

To track your personal or business name, just put your name in quotes. i.e. "Tom Jones" or "Speedy Typos"

If you are working on a project or sector, use the quotes technique if you want a narrow search.

Be specific -- If you can use many words to describe what you are looking for, try it out. You could improve the relevance of the results. For example, if you want job descriptions in Chicago, use "Chicago legal jobs" instead of just "jobs" or even "law jobs".

I own a website about Chihuahua dogs. I am subscribed to Google Alerts to find interesting and often funny stories about that breed. When one pops throught that I like I just copy and paste the link into my website. I also own a website for "work at home" people. I look specifically for "work at home" because I know that is the most often used key phrase in my niche. I will often turn up interesting news about business start-ups and bankruptcies.

Are you concerned about plagiarism from your website? Copy a short and unique sentence from your story into Google Alerts. If that sentence is used, it should turn up quickly.

Be creative. For example, try "Uncle Sam" to find briefs for local and federal government cases.

Experiment. Try putting "Top 10" or "selling" into an alert. You might be surprised and enlightened by the results.

Remember, Google covers 5,000 news sources. You could put the names of your clients and friends into Google Alerts and be notified of an important event for them. This will help you become an unforgettable person in their lives.

About the Author

'Greg Cryns is the owner of many marketing websites including:
Wahm Search Engine:
Social Network Marketing for smart people!
Work At Home Profiles:

Friday, February 23, 2007

What is Web 2.0?

People ask me, "What the heck is Web 2.0?"

The answer is difficult to articulate. It is a revolution in the way content is presented to people. The email lists are swiftly becoming dinosaurs. Struggling to get your website listed at the top of search engines is not quite as important as it used to be. The internet is dividing up into "tribes" who communicate amongst others in their own tribe or niche.

Example: Let's say you sell real estate. Before Web 2.0 you might have called or emailed a friend if you had a referral to pass on or a question to ask. Now you would probably join Active .

If you love dogs you will probably love or its sister site for cats,

If you are Afro-American you may check in at

Australian teenager? Hit up

Looking for good music and video? Try is the largest website for auto enthusiasts with an audience of 1.6 million unique users per month.

Want to keep the planet green? Try

Socceer enthusiast? Try Google's

Want to talk with other moms?

Here are two videos that may help you understand what Web 2.0 is and where it is going and why it is important for you to grasp it if you are an internet marketer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

25 Kickbutt Ideas On How To Promote Your Website

1. Set up your own forum at
2. Set up a Lens at (very worthwhile)
3. Create MySpace, Yahoo, and MSN profiles
4. Use Instant Messaging for social networking
5. Set up a BLOG! Promote it on
6. Post comments on other blogs in your niche
7. Gather email addresses and send a bi-weekly newsletter
8. Write articles and post them in article directories.
9. Use eBay- the world's largest store where all the people congregate
10. Get a Google Adwords account and learn to use it for profit
11. Promote your stuff at CraigsList
12. Host an online party
13. Make an RSS feed with your own articles
14. How about a PodCast?
15. Write an eBook and give it away for free with the link to your site in it
16. Offer a free eCourse (eBook)
17. Review (regularly) some products at Amazon
18. Review products and post them at
19. Post a comment a day on your favorite business forum
20. Post your business at Wikipedia for your own town
21. Advertize in Ezines and on websites
22. Create folders at
23. Make a video of yourself selling your product and post it at YouTube
24. Contribute to Yahoo Answers
25. Post your photos to
26. Make a Post at showing your website address

Generally, there are many ways to promote your blog or website at little or no cost unless you count your labor as "cost". Once you start to earn some big bucks you can then hire help at affordable outlays and do the things that you have learned to do to make you the most money.

For example, if you are blogging daily and you have a significant number of people in your blogging audience, it would be wise to have someone proofread your work for basic punctuation errors before you send it into the blog world. I think the idea of employing a virtual assistant is a no-brainer since they will usually work without demanding a minimum hours policy and you do not have to pay them expensive benefits.

Learn about social networking at Greg's Squidoo site:

Greg's Blog:

Best advertising values:

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Email spam doesn't bother me too much any more.

I have a high tolerance of spam email. That does not mean I like them. But I tolerate them probably because I know it is painful to try to eradicate them.

I've set up my Outlook Express to delete anything with the "V" word in it or the related "P" word. Do men get those ads more than women, I wonder? I have also filtered all email with the "F" word (that is the FREE word not the other nastier one, or is it?). These pesky emails are put into the delete folder immediately.

Strange things do happen in the email world though. My wife and I are both on the same network. She often sends me email and amazingly it often goes directly into the "Junk" file. I told her that once and she gave me a dirtly look. I won't mention it again to her. Only to you.

A couple of developments are perking my antennae. I do not invest in the stock market at all. I wish I could, really, but I just don't have the cashola to do so since most of my funds go into my checking account. That's the one I also call my "retirement fund." So, why am I getting tons of email for stock market hot tips? Why do they think I might read their precious emails?

Here is something that is definitely bugging me about the new breed of email. A lot of it comes in a picture, probably a .jpg file or .gif file. I guess this is how they bypass the ISP spam protection. Actually, I might start using that myself to spam people I don't care much for.

Rush Limbaugh, let me know if you start getting picture only emails.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Is SEO Really Dead?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not dead, but it is changing and not as absolutely crucial as it used to be. Early on, people used SEO to help drive their websites to high positions in search engines. The purpose was to exploit weaknesses in the algorithms of the existing major search engines (before Google arrived we depended on Yahoo, LookSmart, Excite and others).

There is much information out there about how to manipulate search engine results in today's market. For example, some people still hang on to the outmoded belief that META tags are important. Put that to bed, please. Some people think that using CSS will improve your ranking. Sorry to disappoint you.

Since then, search engines have become very much more sophisticated. The search engines learned to close the doors on the tactics to crack into a high ranking. Some of those tacticsincluded spamming the META tags and image tags. Some sites would make the text color the same as the background color to add keywords that were totally unrelated to the website's information. Thus, we would often get a porn site, for example, when searching for a site about website creation.

There is much information out there about how to manipulate search engine results in today's market. For example, some people still hang on to the outmoded belief that META tags are important. Put that to bed, please. Some people think that using CSS will improve your ranking. Sorry to disappoint you.

We need to stop thinking about how to "manipulate" the search engines. Google employs scores of PhD's to outsmart us. Any newfangled technique will quickly get smothered. Mainly, you need good, fresh content to get found by people searchers.

Some SEO companies will solicit your business. They claim they can get you on the first page of Google. That get's you excited. But ask them this question: "What search term can you guarantee for me?" This will cause a lot of hemming and hawing on the other side of the line because the person knows he simply cannot guarantee anything, especially very generic search terms like "candle" and "marketing."

To get Google's attention, you need each and every page of your website to be very unique in content. Designis not as important for search engine results, but good navigation is veryessential. That is why Google love site maps - it's bots can easily find your content.

Incoming links

I'll go on record as saying that incoming links are very important to your web presence. But maybe not for the reason you think. Yes, latest intelligence shows that incoming links DO influence results but my experience says that they are not as important as they used to be. This is based on my experience of not seeking links over the past two years. I used to spend a greatdeal of my time begging for incoming links.

Don't belittle the power of well placed links from good sites, though. I still get plenty of traffic to my website from other good websites. People do check out the linksections, especially if they trust the owner of the website.


Each page on your website should be focused on one major keyword. Having said that, I've learned that the search engines are getting so sophisticated that they
can evaluate related key phrases and give them significance.

For example, let's say your website is "How to make a good pizza." We used to target the single word "pizza" for optimization and forget other key phrases like "good pasta", "delicious pizzasauce", etc. I recommend a strong focus on a single key phrase (possiblea long-tail phrase) but interspersed with other, related key phrases.

Be sure to include your keywords or key phrases on your page. You don’t want to go overboard, but you will want your page title to be very descriptive.

There are a few good tools to find related keyword phrases:

1. Wordtracker - one of the earliest and the best

2. The Google Adwords KeywordTool is also worthy.


At this time I find only two META tags to be useful:

1. The Title Tag - that
is what people will see when they do a search in a search engine

2. Description Tag -
this will usually make up the text under the main text that they see in a search engine. A short description of the web page you are optimizing will be sufficient here. Using a couple of words from the Title tag is also recommended.

I learned early on that Google liked (loved?) the H1 tag for the title of your web page. I've seen at least one trusted and true expert say that you can scale down to an H2 or lower tag, but I don't have a problem maintaining the H1 tag since I am personally not overly concerned with the look of a page. So, if your website is about Internet Marketing, for example, and one of your inside pages is devoted to "Social Networking" then make sure that key phrase is surrounded by a nice, fat H1 tags.

My Recommendation

For the past year I've been recommending to my clients to spend their time learning about Google Adwords as the primary method to obtain targeted visitors to their websites, emphasison the word "targeted." This may sound strange coming from a guy who spends some of his time doing SEO for website owners.

Actually, once you understand the value of your time and the cost to hire people like me, I think you will gladly buckle down and learn how to use Adwords successfully. Just ask my friend, Alex. He sells a unique brand of European vitamins and other health products. I built his website one year ago and I warned him to not expect results quickly.

Rather than spending more time getting incoming links and other old-fashioned ways toimprove results that he go the Adwords route. I am happy to report that he is now selling over $7,000 a month from his site and that figure is rapidlyincreasing.

TIP: I take Adwords expert, Perry Marshall, seriously. His advice is to use Google Adwords as more of an email address collector than as a means to sell product. Think about this. If you get a 5% click-through rate on Adwords you will be congratulating yourself for choosing that advertising tool. That is, until you realize that you sell just one out of twenty visitors. You need to monetize the visitor presence by enticing him to give you his email address for, say, a free eBook or something else of value. Then you can probably improve your bottom line by learning to use your email list effective!

Overall, take care to be skeptical of all advice you see about SEO (and many other aspects of web marketing). Include the information on this page in your skepticism. Things are changing rapidly, almost by the hour.

Don't be transfixed by anything, including SEO and PR. There will always be a shiny new vehicle to take you for an exciting ride.

HOT TIP: If I were you, right now I would take a long, hard, close look at Web 2.0 and Social Network Marketing.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Flat rate real estate brokers

The giant real estate industry is fighting a losing battle against a new breed of real estate sales people: the flat rate brokers.

Flat rate brokers will list your home for one low price, sometimes as low as $399. These agents usually set a up a contract with you where you agree to pay any agent 2.5% of the selling price at the time of the closing. Why? Because there is no incentive for agents to show your home without making some money. The 2.5% rate is the going rate around the country.

Let's assume that the best way to sell your home is through a Multiple Listing Service. Statistics kept by the real estate industry confirm this as a fact. Let's say you sell your home for $300,000. The full commission broker will often insist on a 6% sales commission. This means, of course, that the broker(s) will pocket $18,000 as their commission. Usually the selling broker gets half and the listing broker gets half. So, in this case, you would actually be selling your house for $282,000 (300,000 minus 18,000). This does not include legal, insurance and other fees associated with selling a house.

Flat rate brokers are betting that you will want to list with them to save a bundle of money. They work on listing volume rather than actual sales. This is not to say they do not have your best interest at heart because they know you will probably be purchasing another home. The chances of using your flat rate broker are enhanced if you sell your house through him or her.

Other myths are surfacing. Statistics show that the number of homes sold through "Open House" weekends is a dismal 2% and for newspaper ads a whopping 5%. Home guides sell 1%. The source for these National Association of Realtors 2006 Homebuyers and Sellers Profile (75 page report)

How much can you save? The result is an eye-opener.

Let's assume your flat rate broker charges you $500. (This is an up-front fee by the way) If you pay the selling broker 2.5% of the selling price ($7,500) and your flat fee broker $500, then it is easy to see that your total fees are $8,000. This is a savings of $10,000 on the transaction. I don't know about you, but for me this is more than chump change.

Full-commission brokers are attacking the flat rate brokers with good reason. They are cutting into their total industry commissions heavily. The standard brokers also see the writing on the wall because they, like you now, know the simple fact that most homes get sold by agents who knew nothing about your house before it was listed in the MLS. So, no matter how much huffing and puffing the full-commission brokers yell about how their service makes a difference, statistics prove otherwise.

I"ve sold a few homes that we lived in over the years and I will state without blushing that my listing agents were generally useless as far as selling my houses. They may have tried, but you could have fooled me. All four of my previous homes were sold by people who I never met before they showed the houses to their prospects.

Be aware that some flat rate brokers will provide you with as much or more service than the full service brokers. My good friend, Bill Brynelsen, lives in Spring Grove, Illinois. This is the next town over from my village of Richmond. Bill was a pioneer in the flat rate real estate business. He started his agency in 2004. At that time flat rate brokers were treated as hostile enemies by real estate salespeople and the public alike.

Times have changed. Bill provides signs and gives useful information to his clients during the selling process. He also attends the closings for moral support. That's more than being the nice guy he is. That's good business.