Internet Marketing Checklist

Want to do Internet Marketing? Here’s my best shot at how to do it.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

  1. Keyword Research
    1. Key Factors:
      1. Competition (How much is this going to cost us?)
      2. Relevance (What kind of Quality Score can we achieve?)
      3. Traffic (How much money could we spend?)
      4. Intent (How likely is it that folks will buy? Look at the current search results for a hint.)
    2. Tools:
      1. Google Keyword Tool
      2. Google Insights – keyword traffic over time
      3. Google Trends – what keywords are trending now
  2. Determine LTV and the resulting CAC you can afford. Use this information to set your budget.
  3. Learn about the Google Display Network for image ads & text ads.
  4. Build Text Ads
  5. Build Image Ads
    1. DoubleClick Ad Planner – research website traffic data and visitor demographics across the entire Internet. Use this information to decide if you want to target specific websites for your image or text ads.
  6. Select Keywords (don’t forget about Keyword Matching)
  7. Create multiple campaigns and groups.
  8. Inside each group, build 3-4 different ads and select 5-20 keywords on broad match. The ads will automatically cycle, and over time, the ones with the highest CTR will rise to the top.
  9. Competitive Keyword Research (but don’t assume they do it right.
    1. View the source of their web pages.
  10. Make landing pages for your ads, rather than home (very important)
  11. Setup Remarketing using AdWords and Analytics working together.
    1. First, you must create a privacy policy for your website that tells people you’re using Remarketing.
    2. Second, you need to create a Remarketing list.
  12. Utilize Keyword Insertion
  13. Setup Ad extensions – sitelinks
  14. Review Tips for Success on AdWords
  15. Setup Conversion Tracking
    1. Pass in detailed conversion information – name, referral source, etc. so that you can track people all through the sales funnel, and not simply know the number of conversions. This article explains doing it with Google Checkout.
    2. Track telephone call conversions
  16. After 2 weeks and then after another 3 weeks, look back over your ads to manage Quality Scores. Sometimes QS takes over a month to rise.
    1. Disable and enable ones that still have a low quality score or aren’t performing well.
    2. Improving your CTR dramatically helps your quality score. For example, I saw an ad with a quality score of 4, but within 3 days, it had a CTR of 2.5%, and the quality score jumped to 7. Then, I created a new campaign using this same keyword, and the quality score was low again.
    3. Delete ones that aren’t working well, work to get them at 5 or higher, if possible.
    4. Set keywords with high impressions but low CTR to phrase match
  17. Also, every couple weeks, look over your Paid search traffic in Google Analytics. You want to identify keywords that are getting a high number of clicks but have a low average time on site. (You do not want to pay for people who don’t stay on your site.) Either remove these keywords, because it is likely that the person’s intent behind the search does not line up with your site’s content, or tweak your landing page to try to increase time on site.
  18. View all keywords, including the ones triggered by broad match, and then manually add the broad match keywords to your campaign.
    1. (Campaign -> Keywords -> See search terms -> all)
    2. Select “All Time” in top right
    3. Sort by impressions
    4. Broad match keywords that Google automatically added have a green box around ‘em.
    5. Add in these Added keywords to your campaign that are performing well. *(It looks like the ones with the Added are all exact match keywords, and they are performing better than the broad match versions that I created. For example, I create “student retention software” on a broad match, and then it performs okay, but not great, likely due to the variants of it. AdWords automatically adds an exact match for that keyword, which performs very well with a high CTR, but not as many impressions. So, I went in and changed a couple of these broad match keywords to exact match so that we would get less impressions, but a better CTR, and therefore, a better quality score. I did this for “student retention strategies” and “tutor management software”. Is that a good strategy?*
  19. Add Negative Keywords
    1. Repeat the above steps, identify poorly performing / irrelevant keywords, and add as negative keywords so they won’t display.
  20. Raise bids on keywords with a low avg position but high impressions

 

SEO

  1. Keyword Research
    1. Key Factors:
      1. Competition (Is it possible to rank for this? Is our goal weeks, months, years?)
      2. Relevance (Even if people are searching for this, does our site truly deal with it?)
      3. Traffic (Will it even matter if we rank for this?)
      4. Intent (What are people wanting when they search for this? Look at the current search results for a hint.)
    2. Tools:
      1. Google Keyword Tool
      2. Moz Keyword Difficulty Tool
      3. Google Trends – forecast keyword traffic growth
      4. Run actual AdWords ads on exact match for advanced SEO keyword research efforts. See many people search for a particular keyword over a period of say, four weeks, and then target the ones that get good traffic in your SEO efforts.
  2. On-page optimization
    1. Page title: 3-6 words. Effective format is “most important keywords | page name”. Max 70 chars.
    2. Page description: 1-2 sentences describing what you do. Max 156 chars.
    3. Create an XML sitemap for search engine spiders.
    4. Optimize your URL’s so that they include keywords you’re targeting.
    5. Run through Yoast’s unique WP SEO Guide
    6. Create cornerstone content pages to target your desired terms.
    7. Follow this up with fresh, regular updates of blog posts that link back to your cornerstone page.
    8. Optimize your images – Name, Alt text tag, and Title tag.
    9. Add in rich snippets. Test with the Rich Snippets Tool.
    10. If your site/app has a lot of AJAX, you should optimize it for web crawlers.
    11. Add HTTPS to your site.
    12. Utilize structured markup.
  3. Off-page optimization
    1. Submit your site to DMOZ
    2. Submit your site to the Yahoo! Directory, if you can afford it.
    3. Inbound links
      1. Linkbait – write interesting, unique content on your site
      2. Don’t do link exchanges
      3. Vertical / Industry Directories
      4. Local Sites
      5. Get a link in Yahoo Web Directory, if you can afford it.

 

Website

  1. If you don’t know how to code, but you want to manage your own website, use a Content Management System. I like WordPress.
  2. Had enough of flaky developers or expensive websites? Spend $40 on a premium theme from a rockstar developer, and then customize it so its unique. Even if you want to hire someone, buy a base theme and just get them to modify it. Let’s say you were going to build a house. What if I told you that you could spend 1% of your money on a pre-built structure with a foundation, 2×4’s, and sheetrock? A structure that thousands of people have vetted, and it works great. What if you could cut your risk in half, and then spend most of your efforts being creative with the stuff people actually look at? That is what you do when you buy a theme.
  3. Do yourself a favor and go with a responsive website. This is not the year 2000. People use smartphones and stuff.
  4. Get inspiration from mediaqueri.es.
  5. Need a logo? Host a competition. I recommend 99Designs.
  6. Buttons and icons are small, but they make a big difference. Here’s a bunch you can use, just be sure to check the licenses.
  7. To save money, hire a photographer by buying their existing work. This is the idea behind stock photography.
  8. Add a Favicon.
  9. Create an HTML sitemap for site users. Consider putting it on the 404 page.
  10. Add social media buttons that point to your social media fan pages. Want them to be retina friendly and infinitely scalable? Use an icon font.
  11. Test with different browsers (IE 9, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari), as well as different screen sizes. BrowserStack can come in handy.

 

Hosting

  1. If possible, get it in the same country the majority of your customers/visitors will be. If not, Geotarget your site with Google webmaster tools.
  2. Hosting is a commodity. For most small businesses, you can get shared hosting from a provider like Dreamhost for $10/month.
  3. If you start getting ~10,000 visitors a day, then you can beef up your hosting.

 

Analytics

  1. Google Analytics is a free tool for analyzing user behavior on your website. If you’ve never seen it, it will blow your mind.
  2. Link Google Analytics with Google AdWords
  3. Use Annotations to track important things you do and their impact on your statistics.
  4. Create Goals
  5. Create Notifications
  6. Make all your outbound links events in Analytics to fix bounce rate
  7. Link Analytics with site search
  8. Add Javascript onpageunload to improve time-on-site metric.

 

Google Webmaster Tools

  1. Complete Webmaster Tools official checklist
  2. Create two site profiles – www.mysite.com and mysite.com. Verify ownership, and set both to have your preferred (canonical) domain
  3. Submit an XML sitemap for search engines – Yoast SEO WP plugin
  4. Fetch as Googlebot and submit to index
  5. Ensure page load speed is acceptable
  6. Geotarget your site
  7. Fix crawl errors
  8. Use the Rich Snippets Testing Tool
  9. Verify your +1 Analytics are working

 

Scaling

  1. Use caching.
  2. Improve WP site performance
  3. Install Firebug and Google Page Speed Add-on and use that significant checklist to improve your speed. An alternative is Google Speed Tracer.
  4. Minimize queries to your database
  5. If you’re having lots of visitors, consider using a CDN or Use Google App Engine as a CDN if your site and budget is smaller.

 

Blog

  1. Link up your Google + profile so you’re a recognized author in the search results.
  2. Set up a comment spam filter like Akismet, or require e-mail verification on 1st comments.
  3. Don’t write useless blog posts. People have advised writing at least one new post every 2 weeks with over 250 words, but if you don’t have anything useful to write about, or if you only have a half-finished blog post, don’t put it out there. Wait, polish, edit, and be excellent. This will increase the chances your content is good enough to go viral.
  4. Craft your blog categories and post titles to include the keywords you’re targeting for SEO.
  5. Write useful, unique, & engaging content. Ask questions. Get comments. Some people think that you should close comments after a set period of time so that your keyword density is not messed up. Another opinion is that you should create cornerstone content pages that can’t have comments, but multiple posts that point to that page that can have comments.
  6. Every time you write a blog post, promote it! It doesn’t matter how good your content is if its not in front of people.
  7. Cultivate a list of places that you promote your content. For example, I like to post my links along with some discussion on HackerNews and subreddits like /r/entrepreneur.
  8. Carefully time when you promote your content. I like around 11:00AM EST on weekdays. New York is about to hit their lunch break, the central U.S. is in mid-morning, the west coast is just getting in the office, and Europe is winding down the day in the early evening.
  9. Add social media sharing buttons on posts – something like ShareThis.
  10. Put your blog feed on technorati
  11. If you’re hosting code on GitHub and you’ll be blogging about it on your site, you can avoid a duplicate content penalty by preventing Google from indexing your GitHub repo.
  12. Are conferences a big deal in your industry? You may find that live blogging is far more effective and cheaper than sponsoring conferences or giving out doo-dad’s.
  13. Create sticky content. This article is an attempt at sticky content. I don’t want people to read this article one time and never return. Hopefully this article has enough useful info that people will bookmark it and return to my site multiple times to read it. And when they return, maybe, just maybe, they will also read the other things I’ve written since their last visit.

 

Facebook

  1. Create a fan page.
  2. Make it awesome.
  3. Integrate Facebook Insights with your site.
  4. Add Facebook Open Graph Meta Data. You can use a plugin or do it manually. Also see Official Open Graph Documentation.
  5. Do polls
  6. Like us and get exclusive stuff.

 

Twitter

  1. Optimize your Twitter Bio so that it includes relevant hashtags.
  2. Setup Tweetdeck
    1. Monitor mentions of you, direct messages, and keywords that might tip you off to interesting conversations, potential customers, or competitors.
  3. Perform searches to find what circles and communities you want to be a part of. Oftentimes, people gather around hashtags and use them to communicate to a circle of people. Find these circles, and then include those hashtags in your tweets, so that you can begin interacting with those people, who are likely listening in for those hashtags. In addition, this will help you to appear in tweet searches and people searches for those subjects and hashtags.
  4. Tweet it and get it promo’s.

 

E-mail Marketing/App notifications via e-mail

  1. Use a modern e-mail marketing application. I like MailChimp.
  2. Integrate your Mailchimp campaigns into Google Analytics
  3. Enable Google+ related pages widget in Gmail

 


Well, there you have it – my checklist for web marketing. I hope its helpful to you. Don’t want to worry about figuring all this stuff out? Hire me.

3 Comments

  1. Solid. I’ve been running my own website for more than a year, and you lay out the details in a way that’s easy to figure out. I will be referring to this article over the next few weeks.
    Thanks Aaron!

  2. Great post. I’ll be back to reference this.

    ps.
    Found your site through js weekly. Funny thing, is my cousin is a web dev, from Alabama, named Aaron Gray (helloMeta.com) I was confused and impressed at the same time when I came to your site.

    • aarongray (Author)

      Thanks for the kind words, Dave. I hope the marketing ideas are helpful. That is too funny about your cousin – I looked them up on Twitter and on hellometa. Didn’t know there were any other Aaron Gray web dev’s from AL. :-)

Leave a Comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code class="" title="" data-url=""> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> <pre class="" title="" data-url=""> <span class="" title="" data-url="">

Back

© Aaron Gray. All rights reserved.