Why Your Business Needs a Web Promotion Strategy

The web is the preferred channel for increasing numbers of people who want instant access to information and services whenever it suits them. 72% of searches for products and services are now carried out online, it is the #1 research tool for businesses and half the UK population now go online at least once a day. On a single day in July 2010 Britons spent an eye watering £5 billion online and annual spending on the web is set to grow by 56% to £35 billion in the UK over the next four years (a year on year increase of 12%). Whether you love or loathe the internet, it is an inescapable fact that any small business without an effective web promotion strategy in this day and age is at a serious competitive disadvantage.

Your website is the powerhouse of your online marketing and as a small business owner the time and money spent developing your website will probably represent one of the most significant marketing investments you ever make.

But the sad fact is that 95% of websites fail to get traffic let alone leads and sales. It is simply not the case that “if you build it, they will come”. That is why before investing in a new website you need to have a clear web promotion strategy.

This involves:

Setting measurable objectives
Prioritising the actions that are going to deliver most value for your business
Establishing design requirements from a customer perspective
Carrying out keyword analysis to identify the key search terms that will drive traffic to your website
Building a site structure with search engine optimisation in mind
Analysing your online competition to determine how well positioned you are to compete effectively in your online marketplace
Developing a compelling and distinctive online value proposition that will grab visitors’ attention and make you stand out from the crowd.
Putting together a blueprint for engaging, relevant and high quality content.

Only when all of these elements are in place will you be ready to begin developing your website. Once the site is built you should then configure web analytics and learn how to use the tools and reports to monitor your web performance. Then you will have a way of checking that you are on track to achieve the objectives you set at the beginning and adjust your strategy as you go along.

If you follow this process you should ensure that your website is one of the 5% that are successful in attracting targeted traffic and converting your visitors to warm leads and customers.

Jan Willis is Director of WOW Consulting, an Essex online marketing and website design company specialising in helping small businesses increase their visibility on the web and generate more traffic and leads.

Online Gambling

Online casinos

There are a large number of online casinos, in which people can play casino games such as Roulette, Blackjack, Craps, and many others. These games are played against the “house”, which makes money due to the fact that the odds are slightly in its favour. Some unscrupulous sites have been proven to offer rigged games, which are less mathematically fair than they appear.

Online poker

There are a large number of online poker rooms which offer various games of Poker, most commonly Texas hold ‘em, but also Omaha, Seven-card stud, and other game types. Players play against each other, with the “house” making its money through the “rake”.

Online sports betting

Several major bookmakers offer fixed-odds gambling over the internet, with gamblers typically betting on the results of sporting events.
A relatively new internet innovation is the bet exchange, which allows individuals to place bets with each other (with the “house” taking a small commission).

Funds Transfers

Typically, gamblers upload funds to the online gambling company, make bets or play the games that it offers, and then cash out any winnings. European gamblers can often fund gambling accounts by credit card or debit card, and cash out winnings directly back to the card.
Because of the questionable legality of online gambling in the United States, however, U.S. credit cards frequently fail to be accepted. However, a number of intermediary companies – such as Firepay, Neteller, and Moneybookers – offer accounts with which (among other things) online gambling can be funded. Casino operators and online poker rooms often offer incentives for using these ‘alternative payment methods’.
Payment by cheque and wire transfer is also common.

General legal issues

Online gambling is legal and regulated in many countries including the United Kingdom and several nations in and around the Caribbean Sea.
The United States Federal Appeals Courts has ruled that the Federal Wire Act prohibits electronic transmission of information for sports betting across state lines. There is no law prohibiting gambling of any other kind.
Some states have specific laws against online gambling of any kind. Also, owning an online gaming operation without proper licensing would be illegal, and no states are currently granting online gaming licenses.
The government of the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which licenses Internet gambling entities, made a complaint to the World Trade Organization about the U.S. government’s actions to impede online gaming.

The Caribbean country won the preliminary ruling but WTO’s appeals body has partially reversed that favorable ruling in April, 2005. The appeals decision effectively allowed state laws prohibiting gambling in Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota and Utah. However, the appeals panel also ruled that the United States may be violating global trade rules because its laws regulating horse-racing bets were not applied equitably to foreign and domestic online betting companies. The panel also held that certain online gambling restrictions imposed under US federal laws were inconsistent with the trade body’s GATS services agreement.

In March 2003, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John G. Malcolm testified before the Senate Banking Committee regarding the special problems presented by online gambling. A major concern of the United States Department of Justice is online money laundering. The anonymous nature of the Internet and the use of encryption make it especially difficult to trace online money laundering transactions.

In April 2004 Google and Yahoo!, the internet’s two largest search engines, announced that they were removing online gambling advertising from their sites. The move followed a United States Department of Justice announcement that, in what some say is a contradiction of the Appeals Court ruling, the Wire Act relating to telephone betting applies to all forms of Internet gambling, and that any advertising of such gambling “may” be deemed as aiding and abetting. Critics of the Justice Department’s move say that it has no legal basis for pressuring companies to remove advertisements and that the advertisements are protected by the First Amendment. As of April 2005, Yahoo! has provided advertising for “play money” online gaming.

In February 2005 the North Dakota House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize and regulate online poker and online poker cardroom operators in the State. Testifying before the State Senate, the CEO of one online cardroom, Paradise Poker, pledged to relocate to the state if the bill became law. However, the measure was defeated by the State Senate in March 2005. Jim Kasper, the Representative who sponsored the bill, plans a 2006 ballot initiative on the topic.

Problem gambling

Because the internet brings gambling right into a player’s home, there is concern that online gambling increases the level of problem gambling. In the United States, the link between availability and problem gambling was investigated in 1999 by the National Gambling Impact Study, which found that “the presence of a gambling facility within 50 miles roughly doubles the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers”. If this finding is correct, it is reasonable to expect that easy access to gambling online would also increase problem gambling.

That same report noted the possibility that “the high-speed instant gratification of Internet games and the high level of privacy they offer may exacerbate problem and pathological gambling”. Bernie Horn, of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, testified before Congress that the availability of online gambling “magnifies the potential destructiveness of the addiction”.

Self Growth Techniques for Personal Success

What is self growth? It is about shaping yourself to become a better person with solid values, ethics and a well balanced approach to life. It is the process of working on your areas of improvement and turning them into areas of strength and opportunities. Just how can you do that? Here are five simple techniques for starters:

1. Learn from others. Start with your immediate family and closest friends. What are some of their traits that you admire? What have they accomplished that makes you want to be like them? Talk to them and ask them what they did to achieve self growth that led to their professional and personal success. Then check out famous people whose work you admire and read articles on how they got to the top of their profession. Learn as much as you can about their individual techniques and see which ones you can adopt for yourself.

2. Observe admirable people. Look at how they conduct themselves, from the way they walk, talk, sit and generally behave in public. Such refinement can only be a product of effective self growth techniques, which include polishing one’s looks, movements and skill sets to complete the overall package of the person. Look at how they treat others and are treated in turn. You can take a page out of their demeanor to propel yourself towards personal success and professional recognition. This isn’t to say you should mimic their every move; just derive the best practices possible from them that you can employ for your own good.

3. Assess your own attitude. How have you been behaving by your lonesome? Are you a person of integrity – always doing the right thing even when no one is looking? How are you with other people around? Do you exercise kindness and consideration for others, or are you being fueled by your own selfish needs for personal success? Bear in mind that in order to succeed at self growth, you must possess a mature disposition and a kind heart. Aim to be a caring and morally upright person no matter where you go. The universe has a way of rewarding people who treat others well and punishing those who won’t hesitate to trample on the feelings and rights of others.

4. Envision the kind of person you would like to be one day. This is a great self growth exercise that can provide you inspiration on your journey to professional and personal success. Paint a picture of the Ideal You – the kind of individual you wish to become in the future. How do you see yourself in that image? Do you see a nation-building politician, the next Mother Teresa, or the next Steve Jobs? Use your imagination as your mood board to guide you as you work on your greatest ambition.

5. Get rid of vices that may be harmful to your self growth. Are you quick to turn to painkillers when you feel the slightest muscle twitch? Do you tend to gorge on sugary snacks and drinks to keep your energy levels up as you slave over a very important project? Remove all self destructive habits from your system and start living clean! You won’t be able to enjoy personal success if your health takes a nosedive and renders you bedridden most of the time. So go have that physical check up and get tips from your physician and nutritionist on how to live a healthier and more wholesome lifestyle.