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Category: Advice for Authors

6 Ways to Become a Better Freelancer

Being a freelancer is often seen as an easy job, where you can pick and choose when and where you do your work. This is almost always not the case, and the job itself can be very stressful and intense. Living as a freelancer opens the door for a number of issues to arise, including lack of work and lack of exposure and lack of a decent income.

As a freelancer your goal should be looking to constantly improve on what you provide. The aim of a freelance writer is to be a specialist but also versatile enough to be able to take on non-specialist work when you need to.

Here are 6 ways in which you can become a better freelance writer.


Identify your strengths and address your weaknesses

The most important thing that a freelancer can do is to take a minute to look in the proverbial mirror. Being able to understand where you have strength is critically important, but being understand where you are lacking is also key when identifying how to improve yourself as a writer.

People presume that the only real skill a freelance writer needs to possess is the ability to write and while being able to write is obviously important there are other skills that can make freelancing a whole lot easier.

Being able to appropriately plan and organise yourselfis critical as a freelancer. If you struggle to organise yourself then you are likely to be inviting unnecessary stress on to yourself, in this technological age there are hundreds of programs or apps that can help you keep track of your work schedule.

A thing that new freelancers often fail to consider is the ability to touch type, being able to type as fast as possible makes a massive difference in how much work you can or can’t do.

Learn new skills

Investing in yourself as a writer is very important for potential growth. You should always set yourself new goals, whether they are about learning new areas in which to write or developing skills surrounding self-promotion. Any forward movement is a good movement and realizing how and where you could improve is a key skill in freelancing. Be ambitious.

If you have identified a new avenue which could potentially help you progress then be sure to follow it. Sometimes an online course or new software will arise that would make your life a lot easier, save up and spend a bit of money on yourself. If it helps you progress then it will pay for itself.

 

Identify the right price

When starting out as a freelancer most people try to take on as much work as they can, often regardless of the price. However, once you have had experience in the field you should make sure you’re being fair on yourself with regards to how much you sell your time for.

Being able to identify a fair price for your work is a skill that sometimes takes a little bit of time to get right. The likelihood is that any adjustment to your pricing scale will need a period to gauge as to whether or not the changes have been successful.

If you increase your prices and continue to get a good flow of work then you should look into increasing again. However, there is a lot to be said about being able to identify how much is enough for you to live ok, continually increasing your prices can often be seen as a betrayal by loyal customers.

 

Identify a niche

A good way of becoming a more successful freelance writer is to identify a specific area of freelance writing where you can specialize. Specialization in a specific area not only gives you the potential opportunity to become a well-known writer in your specific sphere, but it also allows you to tailor your prices according to your status in the field.

Identifying a niche is important, but that is not to say that you should be aiming to focus all of your attention on one area. You will need to remain sharp and versatile in other popular areas of writing in case the work in your field dries up. Not every area you identify as a potential niche will be successful so it is important you have the good sense to cut your losses should you need to.

Maintain visibility

Being visible can be the difference between success and failure as a freelancer. You could well be a phenomenal writer, but if nobody knows about you then you’re not going to get any work. You need to make self-promotion a priority too. There are plenty of places that will go into some detail about how you can raise your personal online presence, with one of the key examples of this being where and how to post any reviews you have.

There are people who specialize in improving visibility for their clients, so if you don’t think you have the skills to improve your online visibility on your own there are always people who are available to help. Having said that, it is always important to do your own research into anyone who you are thinking of hiring as help, working from a distance it can sometimes be difficult to gauge how legitimate other freelancers are.

Network

Networking is fundamentally important when working as a freelancer, being able to successfully gain clients or potential partnerships is the key to becoming successful. The more often a freelancer is able to network the greater the quality and quantity of their clientele will be. Ineffective networking can be a root cause for poor flow of work, so getting help or advice in how to properly network (should you need it) could completely revolutionise your success as a writer. By becoming familiar with good networking habits, you are giving yourself a chance to identify and target specific areas or people.

Freelance writing is not easy but it can be extremely rewarding for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to improve themselves. There are a great number of things that can be done to increase success as a freelancer, and those who understand that is always something that they can be doing to improve are most likely to be the people who are finding the most success.

Author Bio

Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in freelancing, academic dissertation writing consulting, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.

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Self-Confidence Takes Small Steps

Let’s be honest. Getting over a fear of public speaking takes small steps. It’s almost like a diet or a fitness program. If you take on too much too fast, you’ll be overwhelmed. It just won’t work – not in the long term.

When I first went out on my own and started this business, building the self-confidence to promote myself as a business owner was incredibly challenging. Speaking in public about myself, my ideas and my own creation to strangers was about as uncomfortable as listening to someone running their fingernails down a chalkboard. But I could easily quiet down a room full of rambunctious kids with one word. Commenting during conferences and meetings was a breeze! What was the matter with me? I was completely out of my comfort zone.

Suddenly I felt like I was transported back in time and back to the super shy, awkward and unpopular middle-school kid I once was long ago. Some kids used to yell “Ugly!” at me when I passed them in the hallway, probably due more to my awkwardness than my actual physical looks. I hated that time! I hated it so much that I decided I was going to watch and learn how to be a popular kid. After all, what did they have that I didn’t have? Nothing. So over the next few years, I slowly learned how to dress, make conversation and basically network my way into the popular crowd. By my second year of high school, I succeeded. I made the competitive varsity cheerleading squad, was later elected to be a homecoming princess and so on. I enjoyed it, but by the time I graduated, I was happy to leave that all behind me.

In retrospect, high school would have been a lot more fun if I had the self-confidence not to be affected by all those social groupings, be myself and develop real friendships. But that’s not the point I’m making here.

My point in telling that story is in making a decision to take on a challenge and then putting in the daily effort to meet that challenge, even if it takes years to do so.

Being comfortable with who you are.

When you get out there to speak about your business, your idea, or your expertise, it’s important to have a basic self-confidence in who you are. Are you comfortable with yourself? Is your product or service compatible with you who are and your values? That’s important for long-term success.

Stop the downward spiral of negative self-talk in its tracks.

First, recognize those negative nagging thoughts that undermine your confidence. Then, identify them for what they are: fear. Replace them with positive thoughts, affirmations or images in your mind. Yes, for some, this can be challenging to do on your own, and I do help my clients work to overcome their negative self-talk.

Build self-confidence with small steps.

With my coaching clients, we break the steps down according to their fear. In other words, the bigger the fear, the smaller and easier the steps should be. We’re looking for long-term solutions. I’ve seen medications recommended and sometimes even prescribed by doctors to people who are nervous before a public speaking event. But those aren’t a good long-term substitute for self-confidence.

Here’s an example of a small step I may assign to a client: tell one new person a version of your elevator pitch every day for a week. Simple and easily attainable.

Take note of your public speaking accomplishments.

It’s so easy not to give yourself proper credit when you do get out there and speak. That’s when many people really let the negative self-talk undermine their efforts. Watch out for that! Remember the challenges you’re working to overcome.

What do you do when a “wrecking ball” comes in and shoots you down?

Sometimes it’s a person you trust – a mentor (unfortunately), family member or “friend” who tells you that you’ll fail, or they’ll say something revealing that they don’t believe in you. We all have people like that in our lives, and sometimes, we’re just stuck with them, at least to some degree.

What you can do is set boundaries. You can change the subject. You can politely refuse to answer prying questions. For example, I’ve been running my business for four years, and one of my siblings just can’t ever seem to remember what my business is about. So, whenever he asks me to explain it again, I just hand him my business card with a smile and invite him to visit my website. Another relative always asks me, “So are you making any money yet? Really? How much?” (I don’t tell them.)

Building self-confidence in any area of life can feel like you’re building a house one brick at a time. But if you have a purpose in life, and you’re ready to get out there and realize it, you’re going to need to do a lot of public speaking!

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Top Tips For Creating an E-Commerce Business

In recent years the world of e-commerce and selling things online has come a long way, and as a result, and because of the growing internet world, there is more competition than ever. It can be a good way to generate an income and create a business of your own, though, as it means that startups costs are less as there is no need for a brick and mortar store. But if that sounds like something that you want to get into, what are the ins and outs of it all? Here are some things to think about if you want to get into selling things as a business online.

Choose Your Strategy

To sell online and to do it well, one thing that you need to decide and figure out is what will your selling strategy be? Once you know, you need to stick to it so that people know what to expect from you. But those things could include the channels that you will use to sell, for example, just on a website of your own. Or would you decide to go down the route of an FBA business and sell on other sites, as well as perhaps your own? You need to make a plan on the kinds of products that you will be looking to sell as well. Will it just be one or two things that you will specialize in, or perhaps a whole range of products?

Customer Service

The common thing that connects all successful businesses is that they are committed to provide some stellar customer service. They realize that their customers are the backbone to their business, so they will take steps to make sure that the customers are taken care of. Providing good customer service is more than just being nice to people on the phone, though. It is all about meeting their needs and making sure that the customer really does come first in the business. Good customer service will mean that you are likely to get loyal customers when people are happy with their experience.

Encourage More Sales

To make sure that you are able to create a successful online business, then there are some things that you will want to do to take your customer from finding out about you for the first time, to them then enquiring, ordering for the first time, and then having them buy again and again. Many e-commerce businesses, and businesses in general for that matter will only focus on the first order and then they’ll forget about trying to getting a second order from the same person. But really, when someone has ordered something from you in the first instance, then it will be easier to get them to order again. So that is an element that you need to be thinking about.

There are different ways to market this kind of thing, from newsletter sign-ups to discounts off second orders, but it will be a case of trying new things and seeing what works best for your customers to take up.

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Aspiring Author? Boost Your Chances Of Success With This

When you’re someone that wants to write, it can consume you. You may find that you just have to write. That the process of putting pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard) is therapeutic to you. Maybe you have these characters in your mind that are bursting to come out? When that’s the case, you absolutely have to make sure that you write. Yet, you have to realize that you really do not need to ask for permission for this. You do not have to wait to ‘become’ a writer, or ‘feel’ like a writer. You can just write – and there you are, you’re a writer. But sometimes, that’s not enough.

Because when you love to write, you may find that it’s just not enough for you to be able to play writer or write in your spare time. Instead, you want to be a published writer and you want to get paid for your writing. Yet, that takes an agent and a publisher – and most importantly of all, courage. And so, this can seem like a huge and scary step for you to complete. But, if you really want to do it, and you really want to find success, then you’ve come to the right place – because we’re about to walk through what you can do to make that happen.

Work On Your Craft

To start with, you’re going to want to try and get better. Because if you’re not getting signed or any interest in your book proposals, it’s time to make some improvements. Lock yourself in your office and practice. Do writing exercises. Take courses. Read. Write in new ways. Just try different things so that you’re always improving.

Have An Audience

But then also, you may find that at this point, you might want to consider building up a bit of an audience for yourself. This won’t always be the case, but if you have a following on social media or readers of a blog or subscribers to an email, then you are showcasing to a potential publisher that you already have an audience, and this can be a selling feature for them.

Write!

From here, something else that you absolutely need to do – above all else, is just write! You cannot worry so much being a writer or getting a deal, you have to just write. So do it. Write as often as you can and make it a habit! It’s so important that you can just actually create, rather than just get the work done!

Publish What You Can

When you want to be a writer, it can often seem as if you should only be writing books. And that all of your time should be allocated to that certain style of writing. But that’s not true. You may want to think about blogging and publishing whatever you can online. You really don’t have to wait. Because publishing and writing as much as you can will help you showcase your stuff and improve your craft.

Market Yourself

The next thing that you might want to think about doing here, is to make sure that you’re marketing yourself enough. Because if you’re not trying to show off what you can do, or get readers, then it’s so much harder for them to find you. For this, you’ll want to advertise and promote what you do. And you may need to utilize anything from Adwords automation script tools to Display advertising to do this. Even social media can be powerful – so make sure that you are putting yourself out there.

Sell Yourself

Next up, you have to make sure that you can sell yourself too. And it’s often tough to do this, but it can work too. Because if you want that agent or to get a book deal, you need to put yourself out there. Yes, your work needs to be good – really good – but it needs to be relevant and it needs to sell too. And for this to happen, you need to put yourself out there, have a selling feature, and to just ask for the chance.

Keep Going

Finally, above all else, you absolutely need to keep going. It’s essential for you to build a thick skin and not stop or worry about being set back. Because we will all get different ‘no’s’ in our lives. But just because one person said no, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop or that you’ll never get published. Just keep writing, keep asking, keep trying. Because you never know when that yes, or which book it will be for, will come!

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What It’s Like to Write “The End” Again

Honestly, it has been a few long years, and it feels like even longer since I have written “The End” on a book, mine or otherwise. In some ways, I was beginning to wonder if I could still do it. By that, I meant carry a story through until the end. 

Don’t get me wrong. I knew I still had it in me, and from my freelance writing career, I knew I could still write. However, writing is novel is much different than an article, a blog post, or a short story. Even those bait e-books they talk about are different when you write the end. 

But after the last year, things changed for me a lot. First, my freelance writing and even a ghostwriting book took off in ways I could not have imagined. I grew as a writer and a person and got back into the writing groove. I took on gigs I would not normally have and transformed my life to once again put writing at the center. 

I wrote “The End” a few times in recent months, and it feels good. If you are a writer and struggling to do the one thing we all struggle with from time to time, finishing, here are some thoughts for you. 

Personal Satisfaction

While we all know that writing is a business and “The End” is just the beginning of a larger process, it is the end of one of the toughest parts. There is something immensely satisfying in the completion of a large project, and whether that is a novella, novel, or a non-fiction book of some sort, you have proven you can see something through to a conclusion. 

Why are NaNoWriMo and other such programs so popular with writers? Because they give you a chance to finish something, even if you do not see it through to publication. Writing “The End” whether the first time or the fiftieth, matters. 

Inspiration to Do it Again

One of the truths of the writing craft is that no matter how good you get, no matter how long you work at it, you will never be truly a master, because there is always something new to learn. The only way to learn those things is to write something and finish it over and over again. 

Writing the words “The End” inspires you to do it again, and again, and again. Maybe you are like most writers and have a lot of projects in the works. When you write “The End” it is time to move on to whatever is next. You should have a plan for that too, by the way. Goals set are goals achieved. 

The Psychological Victory

Let’s put things in a bit of perspective. A big part of writing fiction or anything else is psychological. If you have chosen writing as a career, you can type pretty fast (probably) and you probably have enough ideas to fill a book themselves. Then life happens or people give you other ideas, and you feel like you can write forever. 

Until you sit down to write and then somehow our brain blocks us from doing what we love if we let it. The ability to get through those blocks and to the end with something that is at all good and worth working through the rest of the process is a huge breakthrough, and not just once, but every time. 

I endured a lot of personal criticism about many aspects of my life, including my decision to be a writer and do that for a living for a few years before a relationship ended and I started over in many ways. Whatever is going on in your life, whatever you need to do to finish or get started again, the ability to complete something and write “The End” will boost your confidence and morale. 

What a Relief

To be a successful writer, you need to need to be a writer, to the point where nothing else will really do. Whether this is a hobby for you or a way to make a living, you still need to have the same need. 

Writing “The End” this time for me was a relief. I need to be a writer. An extensive collection of nametags, hairnets, and various unsuccessful careers tells me this is true. The question I had after the last few years was whether or not I could do it anymore. Freelance was one thing: my books and novels were another. 

But I found I could. First, I wrote “The End” on Tilting With Windmills, a Monster Marshall’s story coming sometime this year, wrote “The End” on a ghost writing project I am involved in, wrote it in Harvestedformerly of another title after a major re-write, and am about to do it again on a non-fiction project about writing as a business, also coming out this year. 

This isn’t to brag. It is to simply say this very act proved I can do this, I can be a writer, and I can make it my living. I can keep writing “The End” over and over again until it is written the final time for me by someone else. What’s it like to write “The End” again? It is all of these things. What is standing in your way? No matter what it is, you can get past it. After all, what better satisfaction is there in this crazy business of ours? 

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Keeping Fleas Off of Your Pets

It’s pretty evident that a house full of fluffy fur babies will always be prone to a flea infestation. In fact, the more fur filled your home is, the more likely chance you have in facing fleas at some point. Fleas become a pest when they make their way in and begin multiplying, leaving irritating, itchy, red bites on us and our pets, and carrying a risk of disease. As a pet owner, you need to protect your fur friends with the greatest flea prevention techniques that you can. Why? Because you love them! Fortunately, there are several flea treatment pills, shampoos, sprays, and collars available for you to purchase from your local store and use in preventing fleas or keeping them away. For this, you will need the best of the best, not just any self-acclaimed flea prevention products on the market. We’re here to help!

Flea Infestation

It is easy to evaluate whether or not you have a flea infestation. Most people become aware of their flea problem from sighting the fleas themselves or from experiencing those agitating flea bites. Generally speaking, once you see one flea there are likely many more around (…or soon to be). It does not take long for a few fleas to breed into a major and rapid-spreading infestation. Fleas are also notorious for carrying and spreading disease. For example, the bubonic plague was transmitted to rats by the fleas on them! Although this doesn’t seem likely, it is possible that you can fall ill from a flea problem. Along with this, fleas can cause your four-legged friends to have an allergic reaction from their bites, causing severe itching, hair loss, and irritation.

Flea Control Methods

When it comes to flea control products, the options to choose from are innumerable. Before you rush into the store and purchase what you deem to be the best option, it is necessary to consult with your vet and obtain their opinion as well. You can also consult with your local pest operator regarding the treatment of fleas in your home and gather information regarding that.  With this being said, we have listed some of the most effective cures for fleas below.

Shampoos

One of the best ways to stop fleas from feasting on your innocent pets will be to use shampoo explicitly created for your pet. This will not only aid in treating the fleas on your pet, but it will also help in preventing the likelihood of them returning in the future. However, the downfall of some of these shampoo brands would be that they remove natural oils from your pet’s coat and skin in order for the treatment to be effective. Again, it is advisable to consult with your vet before buying a particular shampoo product from the store. You can get a waterproof shampoo if you prefer to treat your pet to a nice cool bath or swimming, as the effect of waterproof shampoo does not leave after 48 hours. Though more than likely if you’re facing a flea issue, a flea bath is needed in some cases. Ensure you wait 24 to 72 hours after the bath to enable complete drying of the coat and give the natural oil time to replenish. You can use non-insecticidal shampoo to remove debris and flea dirt, while it also soothes skin-irritated skin.

Flea Combs and Consistent Grooming

Consistent pet grooming helps greatly in removing fleas. Flea combs happen to be a fine-toothed-comb designed to specifically remove flea and flea dirt, which is food for larvae. The flea comb can be successfully used by putting it in a mixture of mild soapy water and gently brushing your pet to trap the fleas. This method also helps to monitor the effectiveness of your flea control and extermination process. After your treatment efforts, you may see fleas around, but that does not necessarily mean the treatment was completely ineffective. It takes time to eliminate fleas from your environment. The already laid eggs, pupae, and larvae in the environment may hatch and infest your home or your pets, which will lead to an endless cycle of your constant attempts to eradicate them. This brings us to our last proposal of treatment, being your local pest control expert.

Unsuccessful? That’s ok!

Don’t give up just yet, because these fleas definitely aren’t. If you’ve tried DIY treatments and differing solutions from your vet and none are seeming to do the trick, it’s time to call in the professionals. A professional pest control service may seem like an extensive route, but in reality, it will be the safest, effective, and quick option. A professionally trained and equipped flea control expert can eliminate your fleas for good, and prevent them from ever returning. Your pet doesn’t deserve to endure fleas, help them out today! Comments closed

SOME PROS AND CONS OF PLAYING ONLINE POKER

The game of poker is one of the nerve-wracking and logic-intensive games that any gambler can try their hands on in a casino regardless of whether the casino is situated at a physical location or online.

The game of poker provides gamblers with fun and the recent advancements which have made it possible to play poker online make it more fun. You can check online poker out for yourself. Find out here.

Normally, the game of poker involves you sitting and playing against an opponent sitting across from you. This is with regards to playing at brick-and-mortar casinos.

This is not the case when playing the game of poker at online casinos as you won’t be face to face with your rival. In spite of this, one can enjoy the game as long as they are well versed in what it entails.

Here are some pros of playing online poker:

1. You reduce cost when compared to in person casinos. The online casino provides a lower overhead on cost, as you’ll get to cut down on expenditures on travel needed to get you to a game in person.

2.  You will have a larger variety of tables to pick from when you play online poker. Online casinos have loads of table options available.

3. You won’t be nervous playing online poker when compared to sitting across from your opponent in a physical setting. Playing online poker is the best bet for beginners who are just starting to get a grasp of the game.

Cons of playing online poker

1. If your exploits in the game of poker are dependent on tells and how you observe the moves of your opponent, then online poker will leave you severely disadvantaged.

2. You will be exposed to game addiction as the game will be readily available on demand. You’ll be able to play from where you want and when you want, and this can lead to an addiction if it’s not handled properly.

3. Playing online poker is very fast and gives you less time to make decisions. This can lead to gargantuan losses if you can’t keep up with the pace of the game on the online mode.

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Embalming: Preserving The Body A While Longer

Today our guest blogger looks at the process of preserving the body a little longer for those who prefer funeral services, viewing, or other celebrations of life. 

Before someone is buried, a funeral home performs the embalming process. This is sometimes a personal preference for families who want to have their loved one cremated or who might not believe in embalming due to religious beliefs. Most of the time, embalming is done for visitation benefits as it can prolong the body from discoloring and deteriorating at a rapid rate after death.

As a part of the process of embalming La Grange IL funeral homes perform, the body is thoroughly disinfected. The muscles are massaged so that they aren’t stiff as this often occurs shortly after death and makes it difficult for the embalming process to take place. It can also make it difficult to position the body in the casket. Shaving occurs at this time as well. Either glue or plastic caps are used on the eyelids to hold them shut. Wires are often used to secure the jaws closed, but some funeral homes will use stitches instead.

All of the blood and bodily fluids are removed from the body. A solution with formaldehyde is injected into the veins so that it courses through the body. Water, dyes, and ethanol are also used in this solution. The cavities in the body are then embalmed. This is done by making a small incision in the lower abdomen so that a tube can be inserted into the body to deliver the solution. Any gas or fluid in the organs is removed before the solution is injected. After the body is full of the necessary amount of solution, the suture is closed. Makeup is used on the body to give a natural appearance according to the wishes of the family. Clothing that is provided by the family will be put on the deceased, and the hair is styled in a manner that the family requests before the body is put in a casket.

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Advanced Amazon SEO Tactics You Need to Know

Amazon has made many businesses a lot of money. Its unprecedented growth has transformed the world of eCommerce.

And yet with all this, sellers are facing more competition than ever. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a product on page 1, let alone becoming the top-ranking product.

This is why we are writing this article. 

Here are some of the best Amazon SEO tactics you need to know to get your products further up the SERPs.

Become familiar with how Amazon ranks in the first place

Amazon’s product ranking system is controlled by an algorithm named A9. A9 uses simple keywords as the major part of their ranking criteria.

To quote them directly:

“Customers must be able to find your products before they can buy them, and searching is the primary way they can do that.

Customers search by entering keywords, which are matched against the information (title, description, and so on) that you provide for a product. 

Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results. 

By providing relevant and complete information for your product, you can increase your product’s visibility and sales.”

So, to rank a product on Amazon, the product listing must aim to meet each of these points.

Optimize the product title

If your product title is not optimized, you are going to be losing out on a lot of sales. The product title has a big impact in terms of rankings.

Titles must include product keywords, your brand name and a brief description eg the color and size.

Keywords are by far the most important aspect of a product title. They must relevant to the product, so it appears when searched for. If you have a few short and longtail keywords, use the primary keywords for the product title.

This is where keyword research and selection become very important. You should be using an Amazon tracking software that keeps an eye on how well a keyword performs for your product.

The best product listings have their most relevant keywords at the beginning of the title. This is because customers can quickly tell that your product is what they’re after and A9 likes relevant keywords in the title as early as possible.

The more that you can satisfy what A9 wants from a product listing, the better.

Optimise the product features and descriptions

Product features play a large role in conversions. This section should focus around what the product does, rather than how it benefits the customer from using it. You should be looking to use secondary keywords in the product features section.

Another thing you need to know is that the features must be written in bullet point form. This makes it far easier for a customer to scan through and read what the product does.

Now for the descriptions.

This is the section where you say why the customer should buy your product, describing all the benefits they will get from using it. Like the features, the description is also important in terms of increasing conversions. 

If possible, try and incorporate some high-quality images of the product. These should be different from the lead product images and focus on it being used.

If applicable, include a link back to your website in this section. From an SEO perspective, this affordable link building tactic (we say affordable, it’s free!) places a link in a very authoritative site, boosting rankings in Google at the same time.

Encourage product reviews

Amazon is very much aware that people will buy products that are favored by past purchasers.  Having great product reviews are key to getting your product higher in the rankings.

Reviews are essentially social proof that you have a good product. Amazon is looking for products that have a high number of reviews because they realize it will sell more, which makes them money.

Products that have both a high number of reviews and high ratings boost conversions. 

There are several ways you can get people to leave a review, the simplest being just by asking.

Once a sale has completed leave it at least a week for before following up with the customer to leave a review.

For newer Amazon seller stores, take a look at Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program.  This is a service provided by Amazon that is aimed at getting new products reviewed.

Amazon reaches out to a random number of customers who have bought the product and asks them if they would be interested in writing a review.  They will offer a small incentive to that customer in return.

Amazon will only contact customers that have an honest record when it comes to previous reviews.  You can be sure that their opinion will be genuine.

If you’re going to use other methods to encourage reviews, be sure to check Amazon’s Terms of Service beforehand.  The last thing you need is your account banned from selling activities, with little to no chance of successful appeals.

Back end search terms

The search terms section is only shown in the back-end of the listings. There is a lot of debate around this section, but honestly, it is something that does not need to be complicated.

Simply place your primary keywords in this section, entering only one keyword per line. 

Remember to not only input keywords people are searching, but change these if you find that, for example during your PPC campaign, some keywords convert a lot better than others. Always remember to mix the keywords up in the search terms. Do not just put the same thing but with connectors. It’s also worth considering using misspelled keywords here too. Mistakes can happen when typing so if your product has some words that can easily be entered incorrectly, include them here. This will improve the product’s visibility in search results.

Our guest author, Tom Buckland is the Founder of an organic marketing agency based in the UK. Specialising in increasing revenues on Amazon & Google, he’s the #1 ranked Amazon marketing consultant with http://amazonseoconsultant.com/ & the owner of HQ SEO.

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Overcoming Insecurities as an Early Startup Owner

One of the essential character traits that most successful business owners have is confidence. After all, it takes a considerable amount of confidence to leave behind a salaried position with relative security and to pursue a bold idea through your own venture.

For some entrepreneurs, this bold step has never been taken before. The entire experience is filled with uncertainty based on a profound lack of experience.

For other entrepreneurs who have tried to launch a startup previously, there may be memories of failure or intense challenges floating in their mind. After all, some entrepreneurs will have several learning experiences before they ultimately launch a successful startup.

Insecurities are normal, and they can even be healthy to a degree. After all, your insecurities now can help you to think through your startup activities more thoroughly. By doing so, you may be able to overcome some of the obstacles that you may face in the future.Of course, for many people, this will only address some of many insecurities. These are a few other steps that you can take to target your insecurities directly.

Find a Mentor

One concern that many entrepreneurs face involves making a false move. This may be a move in the wrong direction, or it may be a move in the right direction that is unfortunately taken too soon. You could spend ample time reading books and articles on the topic of entrepreneurship, but another idea is to find a mentor. You may join a local group for entrepreneurs or small business owners as one possible way to find a mentor who can provide you with guidance.

A mentor is someone who has already walked down the path that you are preparing to venture down. This person may have a huge amount of knowledge that is now relevant and even critical for you to know. By consulting with this person periodically, you may get many questions answered that you otherwise would have had to learn through trial and error. When you have a mentor available to lean on, you may feel more confident as you prepare to move forward with your launch.

Improve Your Credentials

Many of the largest and most successful companies today were founded by individuals who lacked a college degree, and some did not even have formal experience in their field. While there are no firm requirements in this area, it can make you feel more confident about pursuing your dreams if you have a higher level of education in a relevant field. If obtaining a full degree is not ideal, you can consider at least taking a few relevant courses or working toward a certification

An alternative to improving credentials that could be placed on a resume is to improve your knowledge base. This could be through books, articles, seminars and more. Education comes in many forms, and you should always strive to improve yourself so that you can give yourself a better chance of being a successful entrepreneur.

Develop a Business Plan

After you have taken steps to improve yourself and to get the extra support that you need, you can turn your attention directly to the new business that you plan to start. Even the most well-qualified and well-supported individuals may still feel uncertain about a new venture when they have not carefully researched and planned it. Developing a business plan that is detailed and accurate is a wonderful way to improve your confidence in your efforts to launch your business.

A complete business plan may take you weeks to prepare. It covers all relevant aspects of your operation, such as marketing, product development, logistics, finances, taxation and more. Before you develop a business plan, you may simply have a product or service in mind that you think will be well-received by customers. After you develop a business plan, you will have a clear concept of what it takes to run your business and to make it a success. By developing this plan, you may determine that your business idea is not as lucrative as you initially thought. On the other hand, you could dramatically improve your peace of mind with the understanding that your plan is amazing.

Review Your Finances

Most startups fail because of financial reasons. There are many underlying causes, such as an inability to generate sales, being assessed fines because of legal violations, growing too rapidly and more. You may be aware that money is a serious concern from the inception of your operation, and you may be one of many aspiring entrepreneurs who have uncertainties related to generating revenue or turning a profit.

One of the primary ways to mitigate this type of concern is to review your finances carefully on a regular basis. Always know where you stand financially, and seek additional funding well before it may actually be needed. The time to seek funding is before you have a critical need for cash.

Wrapping Up

There are many factors that can make a startup owner feel insecure and relatively unconfident. However, you must find a way to overcome these feelings and to feel bold enough to take huge leaps forward at opportune and well-planned times. If you are struggling with insecurity in any way, take time to assess the reason for this. Determine if these thoughtful ideas may work well to help you improve your situation, or look for other effective ways that are suitable for your specific issues and concerns.

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