How to Filter Link Opportunities with Open Site Explorer and Excel

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Open Site Explorer is an extremely useful tool for finding out who links to a specific site. You can export your competitor’s link data and use Excel to filter the best link opportunities to the top. Like mining for gold, you often have to filter through a lot of worthless stuff to get to the gold nuggets.

Here is my process for filtering link opportunities with Open Site Explorer and Excel.

1. Go to Opensiteexplorer.org. You will need a Pro membership with Moz or a free trial.

2. Enter the URL of a website that you want to mine for link opportunities and click “Search.”

3. Select “only follow”, “only external”, “pages on this root domain”, and “show links ungrouped” from the drop down menus.

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4. Click on Export to CSV.

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5. Open the CSV file in Microsoft Excel (I use Excel for Mac).

6. Turn the sheet into a table by clicking on the cell in the first column and second row and clicking on the create table icon.

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7. Go through the rows and highlight rows that are good link opportunities. You can use different shades of color to indicate the level of opportunity. If you go by the temperature of stars, yellow cells can be moderately hot targets and blue cells can be very hot targets.

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8. Click on the table header to filter the highlighted rows to the top of the table.

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9. Work on taking action with the highlighted opportunities. When an action is taken, write a note and change the highlighted color to gray. If it turns into a link, change the color to green (or use your own color scheme).

10. Create a Google Doc and keep track of your link wins over time. Seeing your list of links grow can keep the motivation going.

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Make the Most Out of Your Business WordPress Site

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We all know having a website for your business is crucial if you’re going to stay relevant to your customers. Unfortunately, a lot of small business websites are less than stellar. I would argue that having a bad site can be even more damaging than not having a site at all, because a site with bad content and terrible design can project a negative image of your business. For business owners, setting up a website might seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

WordPress is one of several services that makes setting up a website for your business completely doable. WordPress has tons of tools and resources available to get your site going, but it can be confusing to navigate the myriad of features if you aren’t familiar with them. We’ve compiled a series of steps to get you started on your business’ WordPress site. For more WordPress help, refer to the guide below, created by Simply Business.


Click image to open interactive version (via Simply Business).

Decide on Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the name of your website (i.e. smithwidgets.com). Selecting a domain name can be very straight forward, but there are several tips you need to take into consideration:

  • Brainstorm keywords: Think of keywords people might use in their searches to find your business. Will people be looking for “local widgets,” or “high quality widgets”? Brainstorming a list of several keywords can help you get a list of possible words for your domain name going.
  • Keep it unique: If you’ve come up with several possible domain names, do a thorough Google search for those domain names. If they already exist, come up with something different. You don’t want to have a domain name that’s similar to another site, as that will likely cause a lot of confusion.
  • Keep it simple: Your site will be much more successful if your domain name is short, simple, and easy to remember. Keep all words relevant to your purpose, and change any longer words. Your site will likely be spread by word-of-mouth much more often if your name is easy to remember and simple.

Hosting
Don’t let the technicalities of hosting scare you off; it’s actually easier than it sounds. A web hosting service allows your website to be available online. There are several types of web hosts available: free, shared, VPS, dedicated servers, and managed WordPress hosting. The hosting service you choose will be based on your needs, and there are plenty of resources that can help you evaluate your website needs.

WordPress recommends three hosting services, all of which would be a great starting point for WordPress beginners.

  • Bluehost offers unlimited disk storage, unlimited monthly data transfer, unlimited domains on one account, one free domain name, control panel, SimpleScripts, and mirrored storage backups.
  • Dreamhost offers WordPress 1-click install, auto-updates, unlimited hosted domains, a free domain name, unlimited disk space, bandwidth, MySQL databases, and email addresses.
  • Laughing Squid is a smaller, local service that focuses on small business and quality service.

Learning Plugins
There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins that you can use to extend the usability of your site. Plugins provide extra “features,” like Google maps, social share buttons, search bar, contact forms, or a calculator. Obviously you don’t need the majority of plugins that are out there, but there are plugins specific for business websites that can help you and your customers make the most out of your site.

You can install your plugin from your admin panel within WordPress, under the “appearance” bar. You can simply search for your plugin, and click “activate.” Plugins are great features, but don’t get carried away by using too many. Install the ones you believe will benefit you and your customers most, but pass on ones you won’t use.

Some recommended WordPress plugins:

  • All in One SEO Pack: This plugin makes it really easy to customize your title tags and meta descriptions for the pages on your WordPress site so they are better optimized for search engines.
  • Tweet & Like: This is one of the many plugins available to help you add buttons on your site to make it easy for people to Facebook Like, Tweet, or +1 a page on your site.
  • Top 10 – Popular Posts: Tracks visits to each post and shows your most popular posts in the sidebar.
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: Algorithmically recommends related posts based on the content of a post.
  • Google Analytics for WordPress: Makes it easy to connect your Google Analytics account to your WordPress Account.

Maintaining Your Site
The key to a great business website is to maintain it well. If you create an interactive community on your site, where people can ask questions, or you post articles/information, people will rely on your site for information and service. You shouldn’t simply create your site and leave it alone, but rather maintain its relevancy and design.

About the author: James Daugherty is Seattle based blogger focused on marketing and social media.

Modern Media Icon image from Shutterstock.

4 Ways to Use Email Marketing to Boost Holiday Sales

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The holidays present wonderful opportunities to email marketers. They give you another reason to connect with your subscribers at a time when offers and the promise of savings are more enticing than ever. If you have a product or service to promote, they can be an integral part of the strategy that helps you generate more sales.

The intimacy, immediacy, and proven impact of email makes it the ideal tool to couple with your holiday marketing initiatives. However, making an impact you can be proud of is easier said than done. Incorporate these tips in your strategy, and you will be well on your way to increasing your sales during the holiday season.

1. Divide and Conquer Your List

Segmentation is a vital part of email marketing success. It is even more important when you are trying to get attention in the midst of a busy and competitive holiday. Segmentation is all about dividing your email list into smaller lists that contain groups of subscribers with similar needs, preferences, and tendencies. Here are some ideal segments to target with your holiday marketing efforts:

  • Big spenders
  • Budget spenders
  • Male spenders
  • Female spenders
  • Spenders shopping for children

The point is targeting these groups with content that is most likely to get them to take action. So whether it’s sending special offers to your local customers or treating new subscribers to something nice, identify the segments within your list and treat them to exclusive email experiences.

2. Make Your Subject Lines Count

If there is one thing you take from this article, it needs to be the importance of composing compelling subject lines. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, email activity is sure to increase around a holiday. The very same subscribers you are trying to convince to buy your product or service will be under the same pressure by legions of other email marketers. Whether directly or indirectly, this is the competition you must content with.

So how do you make your subject lines stand out? Treat them like headlines that sum up what your message is all about. If you are giving away offers or discounts, let the subscriber know that savings are waiting for them on the other side.

3. Optimize Your Landing Pages

Convincing subscribers to open your message is good. Getting them to click a link is even better. Both are feats to be proud of, but opens and clicks don’t automatically translate to sales. Once the subscriber clicks through, you need to make sure they are arriving at a destination that is specifically designed to convert. In most cases, that destination will be a landing page.

An optimal landing page helps complete a seamless transition from the inbox to your website. More importantly, it should be consistent, meaning it serves as a follow-up to the content the reader saw in their email. So if you promoted web design services in your message, don’t try to sell them cloud storage space once they get to your landing page. Last but not least, it must provide an easy way to purchase whatever you’re selling. Fail to keep these points in mind and you will probably lose that sale.

4. Prepare for the Post-Holiday Rush

Even after the holidays have come and gone, there are still plenty of opportunities to be had. People are out returning gifts, making exchanges, and making new purchases with the credits on their gift cards. If you truly want to end things on a high note, you will make sure your email marketing strategy is ready to go into overtime.

Send out emails that outline your return policy in crystal clear clarity. Many consumers will be on the hunt for the annual post-holiday deals, so if you’re still running sales during that time, make sure your subscribers know how to take advantage. You can put a pretty little bow on your email campaigns and wrap things up early, or you can milk the holiday season for all its worth. If boosting sales is your goal, the latter is probably more your speed.

Business is sure to boom during the holiday season. But it isn’t just the big three (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s), holidays in general are primed for marketing. Are you ready to seize the moment? Hopefully so because it is very possible to grow both your business and your sales with a little planning and sound execution.

What methods are driving your email marketing strategy for the holidays? Don’t be a scrooge. Share some knowledge with the rest of us.

Aidan Hijleh is a freelance copywriter and serves as the Non-Profit Partnership Liaison for Benchmark Email. Aidan advocates free email marketing services to assist with the flourishing of grassroots organizations.