Business directory for free


There are a million and one free business directories and 99% of them provide zero value. However there are a few high quality local Australian business directories that do provide value. Why bother being listed? Improved SEO rankings on Google and traffic from the directory.

Links from directories to increase SEO rankings

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of listing your business with a directory is the link you receive to your website from your profile page. Broadly speaking, more links equals higher rankings. However not all directories are worth it. A link from each of the directories here is worth it based on two criteria: links are “dofollow” (they pass on link authority) or the directory allows for your business address.

Citations from directories to increase Google Places rankings

Google Places LogoMost people with some knowledge of SEO know that links help to improve rankings. But what Google Places listings? One of the main ranking factors for Google Places is something called citations. A citation is when an external website, like a business directory, includes your business’s address and exactly matches the address on your business website. This is Google’s way of establishing trust in your business location.

Get traffic referred by the directory

People browsing through these directories are already looking for a particular business, be it a restaurant or local pet store. Upon landing on your listing, they will not only be receiving relevant, important information about your business, but they will also be enticed to visit your website.

List of Top Australian Business Directories (ordered by domain authority)

1. Yellow Pages Australia

Yellow Pages Website

Yellow Pages is globally recognised and is considered the “founding father” of business directories. This is the only one that uses “nofollow” (it provides no link value). However, it does count as a citation for Google Places. Additionally Yellow Pages has partnered with Google and will manage a Google AdWords campaign on your behalf. I don’t know a whole lot about their offering, but it sounds pretty competitive. If anyone has prices or brochures, let me know in the comments.

2. Trulocal

Truelocal Website

Truelocal is one of the most popular directories for Australian businesses. They allow visitors to add ratings and reviews to each listing. Their iPhone app broadens the range of customers reached. They also have some premium options worth considering.

3. Hot Frog

Hot Frog Website

Hot Frog provides businesses with free, in-depth listings. You can add coupons or create extended product and service descriptions. Another feature I like is that they send you a monthly email reporting on the number of visitors to your profile and enquiries generated.

4. Start Local

Start Local Website

Start Local is a directory that allows businesses to offer coupons on their listing page and visitors to leave feedback. Businesses are also free to upload images and add store hours.

5. Enterprise Search

Enterprise Search Website

Enterprise Search offers free and paid listings. Businesses’ website URLs are added to each page.

6. Aussie Web

Aussie Web Website

Aussie Web is a free business directory which also includes convenient driving directions to the listed business.

7. Local

Local Website

Local is a reasonably popular directory that includes a map of the business location for each listing.

8. Shop Seek

Shopseek Website

Shop Seek has both free and paid listings. Each listing is manually approved before it is placed on the website, which maintains quality (a factor Google measures).

9. Dlook

Dlook Website

Dlook is a large directory with over 1.5 million businesses listed. Visitors are free to leave reviews. The anchor text used in the listing link is flexible which means you can choose what keywords you want to rank for.

10. Web Directory Australia

Web Directory Australia Website

Web Directory Australia is a simple, straightforward directory that is neat and clean. Each listing includes a thumbnail of the web page, link and short description.

Open Site Explorer Comparative Report

For the SEO people I’ve included a comparative report from Open Site Explorer on the top five of the above directories. Something interest to note is the number of external followed links. Truelocal has the most which suggest it is pretty popular. However strangely Truelocal has no social sharing metrics. Not sure if that is a bug in the report or if Truelocal really don’t have anyone sharing their site on social networks. Seems unlikely.

Comparative Report of Top Australian Business Directories

Do you know of any other quality Australian business directories? Let us know in the comments.

Why It’s Time to Start Using Content Marketing


Content Marketing has been getting a lot of attention lately. Some of this attention has come about following Google’s recent search ranking changes (the Panda update) and we’re going to continue to see Google neutralising SEO shortcuts and schemes in the future. What this means is that good content is one of the few rank-building strategies that works now and is one that will continue to work in the future. Yet content marketing is much more than a way to rank on Google, it’s a way to build a large audience of prospects and earn their trust. As Grant Leoboff puts it, marketing is no longer a means to an end, but an end itself.

If you want to grow your audience, generate interested prospects and ultimately grow your business, you need to understand why content marketing works.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is simple enough. If you have a blog or create videos for your site you may even be doing it already. At its core it involves two things:

  • Creation of content that your audience is going to enjoy reading
  • Leveraging (often indirectly) this content for marketing purposes

Content marketing means sharing information of value, usually closely related to your product area, in order to attract prospects and convert them into customers.

Consider the traditional model of interruptive marketing. Paying to interrupt people with ads is pretty hit and miss. However creating quality content that people are interested in is going to develop a much more positive and beneficial relationship.

What is the Benefit of Content Marketing?

The sharing of content is designed to build trust and demonstrate expertise, to draw in traffic
and to establish credibility. Done right, content marketing should increase your audience size and commitment, leading to:

  • Improved search rankings (as more people share and link to your quality content)
  • Increased traffic (from the better ranking but also from return traffic and word-of-mouth)
  • Lead generation (as you leverage your content to build audience commitment and trust in your product)

How is Content Marketing Different to What I’m Doing Already?

Most websites either focus too much on purely commercial-driven content – such as writing about products, or they have good content but fail to apply it towards selling more of their product. Content marketing is about mixing no-strings-attached, valuable content with techniques for generating leads and converting prospects.

How do I get the balance right?

  1. Make sure your content is relevant and enjoyable to your target audience

To make your content enjoyable, it needs to solve a problem or cover a topic that’s important or
interesting to your audience. It also needs to be well written and clear. If you can’t produce this
yourself, consider hiring a writer or content manager to do it for you.

  1. Always have an active way to benefit from content, but don’t oversell

The best way to do this is to think of one thing you’d like to achieve that somehow relates to the
content, and include a direct ‘call to action’ that provides a simple opportunity for your readers
to do whatever it is you want them to do next.

This might include something like:

  • Join an email newsletter
  • Share your article on social networks
  • Subscribe to your blog
  • Link to your article
  • Download a product brochure / book a consultation

Note that in every case the call to action needs to be relevant to the content it’s included with or it will appear contrived. This means the content that you share will be related to what you sell, so that what you’re providing can be not only useful to your audience, but relevant to your products.

It’s very important that the content doesn’t become some kind of advertorial where the content is a just a trick to advertise a product. Instead, the content should provide genuine value and address your reader’s current problems. By providing this kind of value you will become a trusted source. When the person is ready to buy something, you will be the first place they come to.

Content Marketing Example

For a simple example of content marketing look at the Haymes paint website. The website exists to sell their products, but the front page links to a whole range of content that isn’t directly about selling paint, but is likely to be of use or interest to their audience. The “About Colour” page or the “How to Paint” videos are genuinely useful, and make the site that much more likely to get bookmarked and returned to by visitors, who are then much more likely to buy their paint when the time comes.

You may also notice that it’s not only paint they sell – the colour consultancy article
demonstrates the virtues of hiring a colour consultant and it also lets you enquire with their consultants. So amongst their informative content there is some lead generation going on. This mix of interesting content with hints of more product-focused copywriting is classic content marketing.

One of the hardest parts of content marketing is generating ideas. Leave a comment with a short explanation of your business and we along with our other readers can help you brainstorm some content marketing ideas.

How To Setup A Self-hosted WordPress Blog for Free


Getting your own domain name

The first step in our little project is obtaining a domain name. But with zero budget, you shouldn’t expect to be able to snatch a dot com – or any other popular dots like org, net, name or tv. For this experimental purposes, we’ll go with a less popular but free alternative.

The free service that I always use for quick and free domain names is www.co.cc. This service will provide you with 2 free domain names (with .co.cc suffixes) for personal use. (But that doesn’t mean that you can’t register for more with different email addresses. Wink!)

Visit the site and search for the availability of your chosen domain name(s). I’ve registeredbuildablog.co.cc for this article so you can’t claim that one.

how to set up blog site

If your chosen name is available, please check whether it’s available for free because there are names which are not free. Then continue with the registration.

how to set up blog site

If you’ve been here before, you can log in with your account. Newcomers click “Create an account now“.

After completing the registration process, you need to set up your domain. This step should be done within 48 hours or they will delete the domain. So click the set up button now.

how to set up a free blog site

Finding yourself a host

To be able to set up the domain, you need a webhost. So, we’ll postpone the domain set up process for a while and find ourselves a webhost first. I stumbled on a service which provides free webhosting without ads called 000webhost. You won’t get premium features, but 1.5GB of disk space and 100GB of data traffic per month should be sufficient for our project.

how do i set up a blog

Sign up for free hosting with your registered domain name from the previous step, and you’ll get the DNS addresses needed for the domain set up – both in the confirmation email and in the website. Armed with that information, we are ready to go back to our postponed task.

how do i set up a blog

Please note that the host set up process could take a long time (up to 24 hours). So be patient here and refresh the page often.

Setting up the domain

Back at the “Manage Domain” page, choose the number one: “Name Server” option and write down these values:

– Name server 1: ns01.000webhost.com
– Name server 2: ns02.000webhost.com

how do i set up a free blog site

Then click “Set Up“, and you’ll go into another waiting game.

Installing WordPress

After the host and the DNS settings are active, we can log in to the cPanel to install WordPress. You can log in using your email address and password.

Find the Software section inside the cPanel and choose Fantastico, then select WordPress and provide the admin name with the chosen password. The Fantastico installation script will make the WordPress installation easier by automatically building and linking the database for you.

free blog sites

You have to decide where you want to install WordPress. If you leave the sub-folder blank, then WordPress will be installed in the root folder: your domain name and you can access it using –> http://www.your-domain.co.cc. But if you put name in the sub-folder, then WordPress would be installed in that folder and accessible via http://www.your-domain.co.cc/foldername

Customization and final notes

You can customize your WordPress installation using plugins and themes and upgrade it to the latest build via FTP. The details of the FTP is available in the welcome email and in the cPanel. I won’t go into detail here because discussing that topic would require another one or two more articles.

With all that said and done, I have to emphasize that the free domain name and free hosting service will only go that far: as an experiment tool. If you want to do this seriously, you have to go with the paid service as they will provide you with more necessary bells and whistles.

But let me share one last trick here: you don’t have to settle with the price that web hosting company offer you. You can get a far cheaper price by applying for a web host reseller account. Normally, this kind of account is not opened to the general public and also not free. But I found one which is free for everybody to join called Resellers Panel. (The link will put me as your referrer, but you can go directly to their website if you want)

By applying to become a reseller, not only you can get the cheapest price for domain names and hosting but you could also start your own business by reselling the service with the market price.

Do you use WordPress? Have you tried to install one on the web server? Share your experience using the comment below, and don’t forget to check out our article on installing WordPress locally in your hard drive.

Free web hosting provider in the netfree we


Here are the ones that still stand after the showdown.:) In no particular order, of course. I’ll only mention the disk space and monthly data transfer for quick comparison purposes. Please refer to each service provider’s website for the full list of features as they will be too long to list down here.

Zymic

Gives you:

  • 5 GB disk space per account with unlimited account per users
  • 50 GB of monthly data transfer

easy and free web hosting

XtreemHost

Gives you:

  • 5.5 GB disk space
  • 200 GB of monthly data transfer

easy and free web hosting

Hosting-Engine

Gives you:

  • 150 MB disk space
  • 4 GB of monthly data transfer

free web hosting services

Host-Ed

Gives you:

  • 150 MB disk space
  • 4 GB of monthly data transfer

free web hosting web sites

Freehostia

Gives you:

  • 250 MB disk space
  • 6 GB of monthly data transfer

free web host hosting

PhpNet

Gives you:

  • 350 MB disk space
  • 15 GB of monthly data transfer

free web host

000Webhost

Gives you:

  • 1.5 GB disk space
  • 100 GB of monthly data transfer

free web hosting web sites

Lead generation from LinkedIn Higher 277%


Social media can be a huge contributor to a company’s lead generation efforts in both B2B and B2C. But how efficient are the various different social channels in directly driving leads? In a recent study of over 5,000 businesses, HubSpot found that traffic from LinkedIn generated the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, almost 3 times higher (277%) than both Twitter (.69%) and Facebook (.77%). Social Media Conversion Rates LinkedIn’s conversion rate also outranked social media as a channel overall. In other words, of all the traffic that came to these business’ websites via social media, .98% of that traffic converted into leads, compared to LinkedIn’s 2.74%. So why might LinkedIn be the most efficient social channel for lead generation, and how can you use that to your advantage? People join LinkedIn to showcase their career, work expertise, and find content and information to make their professional lives better. So businesses who target other businesses will naturally find a higher concentration of their target market on LinkedIn. Also, when someone visits LinkedIn, the person is most likely in a business-focused mindset, helping business’ content perform inherently better. So what about B2C-focused businesses? Less content is generally posted to LinkedIn than to other social networks, which is probably because people almost exclusively post marketing-related content as opposed to their children’s photos or social “chatter.” This means there is less clutter on LinkedIn, making a person capable of consuming a higher percentage of the content that’s active on LinkedIn at any given time. In other words, a business’ marketing posts are more likely to be noticed on LinkedIn than somewhere else. So what should you do when you find a specific social channel that’s a slam dunk for your business?

How to Leverage Your Business’ Top-Performing Social Network

1. Invest time and effort to grow that specific channel. The trick, however, will be trying to maintain a quality network as your community scales. 2. Post more of the targeted content that’s working. If you notice people are specifically really enjoying blog posts, webinars, or something else — keep offering it! How can you tell what content’s working? Monitor comments, likes, shares, and clicks. 3. Find more opportunities to post relevant CTAs. Can you sprinkle more lead generation opportunities throughout your social media updates? It’s quite a balancing act, but a solid mix of calls-to-action (CTAs) and other content is healthy. 4. Don’t take success for granted – keep learning. It’s easy to get comfortable when something is going well. Remember, there are always opportunities to improve. Keep testing, analyzing your data, and increasing results! Read more: 

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30030/LinkedIn-277-More-Effective-for-Lead-Generation-Than-Facebook-Twitter-New-Data.aspx#ixzz1yoMkcX84

Design Interactive Inc

Role of Social Networking’s Place in Lead Generation


Twitter is all the rage, but can you actually use it to drive sales? What about Facebook, LinkedIn or blogging? Social networking seems like the right place to build a lead generation program right now. These sites offer up huge audiences of engaged users, and make it relatively easy to setup targeted groups and encourage participation. It seems like a no brainer, but it’s not. Many business-to-business lead gen campaigns based on social networking are failing.

Here’s the secret, age matters. Your audience just might not be ready to be marketed to via social networking. They could simply be too old.

Take a moment and profile your customers. On a piece of paper identify the key decision makers you target in the sales cycle. This could be CEO, President, CFO or VP of HR. Beside each of the titles, write down their average age of the people in these positions. Next, profile the users of your products and services by writing down their titles and average age.

Depending on what you sell, I suspect you will see a gap. For example in the software industry the decision makers, the senior people inside organizations, tend to be 35 to 50. While the users, which could be administrative staff or mid-level managers, are typically 22 to 35. These groups are at least a generation apart, which has a direct impact on the types of technology they use in their day-to-day lives.

The Age Gap: Digital Immigrants versus Digital Natives

The plus 35 crowd, people born before 1974, are Digital Immigrants. They didn’t grow up interacting with friends and family through the internet. Rather, they connected on the phone, in person or maybe by letter. If they wanted to plan a Friday night out, everyone called each other to coordinate plans.

As technology exploded in the late 90’s and 2000’s, the Digital Immigrants embraced the new tools. Email replaced the fax. Blackberries gave access to email and the internet anywhere, anytime. Google made it easy to find information in a matter of seconds. With each breakthrough, Digital Immigrants figured out how they could use the technology to make their lives more efficient.

The under 35 crowd, Digital Natives, have approached technology from a totally different perspective. Digital Immigrants may look at Facebook, Google and email like tools, but not Digital Natives. I asked my associate Fawzia, who is 26 and definitely a Digital Native, how she would describe her use of social media. She said, “It’s a necessity. It’s what you do. You might use the phone, but we text and social network. That’s how we talk to each other. It’s like breathing!” The Digital Natives can’t imagine communicating without these tools. They are completely ingrained into their social connections, their community and how they learn.

When to use social networking for lead generation

The differing approach to technology between the Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives has a direct impact on your lead generation strategy. It is crucial to profile the demographics of your users and decision makers so that you know which media platforms to use in marketing.

When targeting the Digital Immigrants, social media is not the best approach for lead generation. Sure you may get a few leads from social networking, but not nearly as much as you could through traditional media. Digital Immigrants use technology as a tool to support their buying decisions. As a result, they use Google to find vendors, websites to evaluate companies and human interaction to make buying decisions. Social networking is not used in the buying decision, because it is not a tool for evaluating products or services.

As you understand the habits of the Digital Immigrants, you can tune your marketing programs to fit their needs. Some of the obvious programs are search engine optimization, because they use Google to discover their options. Public relations are effective, because they use newspapers and magazines as a primary source of information. Public events are also powerful, because Digital Immigrants truly value being able to see the white’s of their vendor’s eyes.

If your audience is Digital Natives, you have a lot more marketing options. In a business-to-business environment there are not many Digital Natives in the decision making roles, they tend to be users. Users are still important to the overall marketing strategy, because having access to them provides an influential group for up-selling and cross-selling.

For example Salesforce.com created IdeaExchange to engage the Digital Natives, and capture their input for product innovation. The IdeaExchange is an interactive, social networking site where users can post ideas and comments to help Salesforce.com get better. The platform builds on the habits of the Digital Natives, and offers incredible market intelligence for Salesforce.com to plan future versions and products.

Beyond product development, building an engaged user community offers tangible benefits for sales. The ongoing interactions the users have in the online community help to build a relationship with the company, and reinforce its brand. More importantly, the interactions keep the users in the know. They have a better understanding of the company, its products and its upcoming products and innovations. This knowledge helps them to advocate on behalf of the product inside the company, and even drive additional purchases. Essentially, the users start the sales process from the inside out.

Driving Leads Today

By profiling your customers, and understanding their technology habits, you can tune your marketing programs. Social media is definitely the way of the future, but it still may be too early for your customers. If you find your decision makers and users are Digital Immigrants, then focus your marketing on traditional media. Social networking may generate some traffic, but not as much as you could through public relations, search engine optimization and email marketing.

Social media is definitely the way of the future. The Digital Natives may not be sitting in the key decision making roles yet, but they will be in the next five years. As they move up the ladder they will pull their technology habits with them, and the use of social media in business decisions will become far more prevalent.

How To Convert More Website Visitors To Leads With The HubSpot Software


In order to get more leads and customers out of a website, companies need to apply inbound marketing best practices and have the tools to make rapid changes easily. Whether it is creating remarkable content, adding customized calls-to-action, or capturing leads on landing pages, learn how small businesses can leverage the HubSpot software and squeeze more conversion from the audience they already have engaged – their website visitors.

This free webinar will cover:

  • How to create, optimize, and promote content to attract more potential buyers to your website
  • How to capture more leads with customized calls to action and landing pages
  • How to optimize your sales and marketing funnel with analytics and tools from the HubSpot software
  • How to track results from your internet marketing efforts

Convert More Website Visitors To Leads